Three past winners and a Japanese-backed team with lofty ambitions complete today’s exciting semifinal lineup for the prestigious Hun Sen Cup at the Svay Rieng Stadium as the battle for the coveted silverware will be fought in a provincial capital well away from Phnom Penh for the first time in eight years.
With home team Svay Rieng FC gunning for their third cup success, local interest has been whipped up like never before, and adding to the thrill will be a marquee matchup between defending champions National Police Commissary and 2013 winners NagaWorld FC.
The odd one out in this winners’ circle is TriAsia Phnom Penh FC who have kept building on their impressive fifth-place finish in last year’s Metfone C League and get into the fight as a long shot not to be treated lightly.
The first semifinal between Police and NagaWorld kicks off at 4pm, followed by the Svay Rieng-TriAsia clash, with the day’s winners facing off in Saturday’s final for the glittering trophy and the cash bonanza that comes with it
In the lead-up to this high-stakes clash, Police haven’t put a foot wrong and the team are confident of a strong showing against NagaWorld, who are just beginning to hit form under new coach Meas Channa.
While Police will stop at nothing to defend their last year’s hard-earned treasure, the casino-backed side will be eager for a big hit after their somewhat lacklustre 2014.
Home advantage clearly weighs in favour of Svay Rieng, who won the cup back to back in 2011 and 2012 when formerly Preah Khan Reach FC and who followed it up with a maiden Metfone C League triumph the next year under a new name and ownership.
Getting into this game on the back of an impressive win over defending league champions and two-time cup winners Phnom Penh Crown in the quarterfinals, Svay Rieng will be clearly confident as the team gathers momentum.
Yet they are well aware of Tri-Asia’s proven record of putting up a stiff fight against some of the best teams in last year’s league.
The TriAsia camp are striking a confident note that they can run Svay Rieng close and strongly fancy their chances of pulling off a win that would do wonders for a team formed just three years ago.