Boeung Ket Angkor head to a two-week break three points clear of Phnom Penh Crown in the Metfone C League standings following a Chan Vathanaka-inspired 1-0 win over Ministry of National Defence at the Old Stadium on Sunday.
The all-important goal came in the 74th minute of a hard fought encounter in which the Armymen lost the services of defender Khek Khemrin early in the second session after he was booked twice in a matter of minutes.
It had been tough for both sides until an opportunity raised itself for Chan Vathanaka to seize as he has done so many times this season.
His strike decisively won the argument for Boeung Ket, who have now skipped away to a three-point advantage over Crown with two more matches in the League phase to be played.
Coach Prak Sovanara’s men were also the first this season to cross the 50-point threshold. The team’s tally now stands at 51, which includes 16 wins, three draws and a lone defeat to Build Bright United.
Crown hold second position with 48 points but their season’s tally of 72 goals is one better than that of Boeung Ket.
With Boeung Ket and Crown assured of their slots in the four-team, double-leg playoffs beginning at the end of the month, there is a cluster of five teams vying for the other two places.
Holding joint third in the standings are National Police and NagaWorld with 35 points each, with Cambodian Tiger FC one point adrift in fifth place.
But also in this rush to the finish line are MND and Svay Rieng, who are locked together on 32 points each.
Equally interesting is the relegation scene. While Kirivong Sok Sen Chey, with just 11 points, find themselves at the foot of the table, there are three other teams close enough to be dragged into the fight for survival.
All four in this rat race, Asia Europe United, Cambodian Mine Action Centre, Western Phnom Penh and Kirivong Sok Sen Chey, have only two more chances to solidify their places in the top flight.