In a second-half surge powered by North Korean hitman Kim Kyong-hun’s double strike, Ministry of National Defence mowed down table-topping PKR Svay Rieng 5-1 on their own home turf in a key Metfone C-League tie on Friday.
But amid a surfeit of drama that climaxed in the dismissal of a player from each side, Boeung Ket Angkor stole Saturday’s thunder with a 1-0 win over Phnom Penh Crown at the RSN Stadium, where the match winner for coach Prak Sovanara’s team came from the most unlikely source, defender Sok Sovann.
The away wins for both the Army and Boeung Ket left them as joint leaders in the standings after six weeks of action with 15 points each, while PKR dropped down to third. NagaWorld moved up to the fourth slot after their 3-1 win over CMAC United at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday.
Stormed into an early lead
The Army outfit’s road trip to the Svay Rieng stadium was fraught with anxiety following the team’s narrow loss to Crown, and those concerns seemed to grow even bigger when the home side stormed into an early lead through Pidor.
Shorty after that, Myong Ho-choe put the side at ease with an equaliser and the teams went into the second half with everything to fight for. But minutes after the resumption, the Army took control with Sok Sana driving them to a 2-1 lead. An innocuous clearance by Nub Tola spelt disaster for Svay Rieng as the ball obviously intended for the goalkeeper ended up in his own net.
As the Army’s attacking edge grew sharper, Kim Kyong-hun crafted a running double to leave Svay Rieng in a state of utter despair.A fairly big turnout saw Boeung Ket edge past Crown in a well-fought encounter.
After a first half full of thrust and parry, Boeung Ket turned a set piece opportunity into the only goal of the contest. Defender Sok Sovann was among the first to reach out to perfectly volley a swerving free kick delivered well into the box by Chan Vathanaka in the 72 minute.
Moments after this decisive break came an altercation between Crown’s South Korean signing Jang and Boeung Ket’s Hong Pheng, leading to their dismissal. With both sides down to 10 men, the surcharged atmosphere created moments of anguish for both sides even as Boeung Ket withstood several bold attempts by Crown.