Phnom Penh: Cambodia remained in the hunt for a place in the semi-finals of the AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup 2022 after they posted a commanding 5-1 win against Brunei Darussalam in Group A at Morodok Techo National Stadium on Thursday.

Nur Ikhwan Othman scored from a corner kick to give visitors Brunei DS a surprise lead in the 21st minute, but Choun Chanchav headed in the equaliser for Ryu Hirose’s side 10 minutes later.

Nick Taylor and Keo Sokpheng then scored from the penalty spot in the second half for Cambodia before Lim Pisoth’s double coming in the 80th and 89th minutes wrapped up an impressive 5-1 victory.

The Koupreys are third in Group A with six points from three games – one point behind both Indonesia and Thailand who played out a 1-1 draw in Jakarta in the other game of the day.

The first chance of the match fell for an unmarked Cambodia striker Reung Bunheing whose header from a Sa Ty cross was calmly collected by goalkeeper Haimie Abdulah Nyaring 10 minutes in.

At the opposite end, Hakeme Yazid Said guided his effort straight at Cambodia shot-stopper Keo Soksela after Brunei DS were awarded a free kick at the edge of the box for Tes Sambath’s foul on Haziq Kasyful Azim in the 18th minute.

Mario Rivera’s players were rewarded for their positivity just past the half-hour mark as defender Nur Ikhwan headed home from Hakeme’s corner as Brunei DS led for the first time on their return to the AFF Championship after 26 years.

However, Cambodia’s response was swift as Chanchav headed in from close range 10 minutes later after centre-back Tes Sambat produced some beautiful footwork on the right wing to beat both Haziq and Azwan Ali Rahman before crossing in for the equaliser.

Taylor was a constant menace for the Brunei DS defence down the right and the attacker, who plays his club football in the United States, struck the woodwork the very next minute.

The Cambodians were once again denied a goal in the 44th minute as Bunheing was stopped from scoring a tap-in by a brilliant save from Haimie.

Cambodia stamped their authority on the game following the restart and were awarded a penalty in the 50th minute as Taylor was brought down inside the box by Haimie. The Texas-born attacker himself stepped up and converted his first international goal for Cambodia.

A string of chances then fell to Hirose’s side with Pisoth firing off target with just the keeper to beat in the 57th minute before Haimie made a save as he went one-on-one with Sokpheng five minutes later as poor finishing kept the score at 2-1. But Sokpheng then netted Cambodia’s third in the 73rd minute from another penalty.

Pisoth hit the woodwork with a header from Yeu Muslim’s cross in the 63rd minute before substitute Sieng Chanthea missed an open goal a couple of minutes later. Then, the referee pointed to the spot after Pisoth’s cross struck Haziq on his arm and Cambodia had a two-goal cushion.

Pisoth added his name to the scoresheet in the 80th minute as he cut in from the left and fired a right-footed shot that went in off a deflection from Wafi Aminuddin. His second was a clean finish after he took on Wafi and beat goalkeeper Haimie at his near post in the 89th minute.

Cambodia will face defending champions Thailand in their final group stage outing in Bangkok on January 2 when an against-the-adds victory would see them create history by qualifying for the semi-finals for the very first time.