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Crown find first win as Nieto and Nishihara claim hat-tricks

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Japanese striker Takumu Nishihara of TIFFY Army (centre) vies for the ball with Angkor Tigers’ Nu Chenmakara during their 2022 Cambodian Premier League match. TIFFY ARMY

Crown find first win as Nieto and Nishihara claim hat-tricks

Defending champions Phnom Penh Crown finally broke their duck and took their first win of the season, while Colombian midfielder Nieto and Japanese striker Takumu Nishihara scored hat-tricks during the fifth round match of 2022 Cambodian Premier League season at the weekend.

Despite remaining winless in the first four matches of the season – following their two scoreless draws with Tiffy Army FC and Visakha, a 3-1 loss to Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng and a 4-2 defeat to Angkor Tigers – Phnom Penh Crown finally showed their strength at Smart RSN Stadium when they welcomed Kirivong Sok Sen Chey on Saturday and immediately piled pressure on the visiting team.

With this a must win game, Phnom Penh Crown dominated the match to beat Kirivong 6-1 – and provide warmth to their loyal fans who braved the cold conditions and pouring rain to witness the powerful performance. In this important victory, Nieto scored his first hat-trick, finding the back of the net in the 45th, 79th and 81st minutes. The three additional goals were scored by Yeu Muslim in the 27th minute, Valerii Hryhyn in the 63rd and Afghani striker Fareed Sadat in the 89th minute. Kirivong’s sole goal was scored by Rakhmonov Suhrob in the 29th minute.

Defender Yeu Muslim, who opened the scoring for Phnom Penh Crown, described the victory over Kirivong as a better result than expected and said it would motivate the Red Lions to carry on competing hard for the rest of the season.

“It was an unexpected victory and the result has given us the confidence to continue to challenge,” the former Cambodia national team player told reporters after the match. “Even though we still have some areas we need to improve in, we took the win and exceeded our expectations by scoring six goals. Our hunger for victory is still there. One important take-away from this match is how much of a part good teamwork played in nearly all of our goals.”

Meanwhile, Visakha were unable to use their home advantage to grab 3 points from Boeung Ket. Although defender Ouk Sovann gave Visakha a 1-0 lead in the 32nd minute, an equaliser from Mat Noron in the 45th minute and a deciding goal from young player Sieng Chanthea in the 65th minute helped Boeung Ket complete their fightback for a thrilling victory over the hosts. Boeung Ket now have 9 points from 3 wins and 2 losses, while Visakha sit on 7 points.

The meeting between the home team Angkor Tigers and Tiffy Army at Hanuman Stadium on Saturday was a tough and tense match as both teams used their physical strength to fight for the ball. It was also the occasion when Japanese striker Nishihara scored his first hat-trick since debuting in the Cambodian Premier League this season.

However, the three goals – scored in the 13th minute (penalty), 37th and 56th minutes – by Nishihara and another from young player Nhean Sosidan in the 75th minute were not enough to seal victory, as Tiffy went down to the Tigers 5-4.

Poor discipline by Tiffy Army was responsible for their loss, with two penalties being awarded to the home side for fouls. Striker Silva Gabrieleiro made no mistakes, slotting them both in the 61st on 82nd minutes. The 3 additional goals were scored by Keaveny Josfphelim in the second minute, Mao Piseth in the 40th and Bento Fernandes Iago in the 85th.

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