Hounded out of their comfort zone in the last few weeks, can defending Metfone C-League champions Boeung Ket Rubber stem the four-game rot and regain their winning ways?
The answer to this puzzling question is hidden in how well Boueng Ket deal with National Police when they line up for a 2pm kick off at the Olympic Stadium on Sunday.
The strain on Boeung Ket is glaringly obvious. Any side which reels off 10 wins in domestic competition and then slides downhill to five defeats, including two in regional events, will have to be wondering what is going wrong.
Stressed as he is by this disappointing turn, coach Prak Vuthy will have to sharpen up his players’ focus in reshaping rest of their campaign. The team had never looked so vulnerable and the coach’s position so untenable after last weekend’s 3-1 loss to Phnom Penh Crown, though it is not all gloom and doom yet and the side still heads the standings, albeit by a single point.
A shock of sorts at the hands of Build Bright United last Sunday and a 4-2 defeat three days later at the hands of Svay Rieng may keep the Police honest in their drive to do better. There is no bigger inducement for the Policemen than to go in arms swinging against the league toppers, who incidentally were also one of BBU victims.
In Sunday’s second fixture at 4pm, Naga Corp will have to get to grips with a certain bounce Build Bright United has been enjoying following their wins over Boeung Ket and Police on the top of Wednesday’s 1-0 victory over Asia Europe University. If Naga’s scoring pattern is anything to go by, the side is clearly desperate for more goals and BBU by no means are pushovers.
Tomorrow’s game at 2pm at Olympic Stadium between Phnom Penh Crown and Svay Rieng is too close to call. The momentum is clearly with Crown after their victory over Boeung Ket but Svay Rieng, surprisingly beaten by MND last Sunday, went on to demonstrate that they are made of much sterner stuff when they got the measure of Police 4-2 in a midweek contest.
If Crown and Svay Rieng will be battling it out to determine who will go up the standings to second spot behind Boeung Ket, there is an interesting bottom half clash carded at the Old Stadium for 4pm tomorrow between Asia Europe University and Ministry of National Defence.
Form pointers and past record favor the Army men, but the University-backed side has shown remarkable grit against some of the league’s heavyweights. Victory for either of them is critical to avert a possible drop to the danger zone since they are the two most likely candidates at least to be involved in that rat race, with Senate having been confirmed as demotion certs.
Senate play Kirivong in the opening game at Old Stadium from 2pm tomorrow, with the latter looking to regain fifth spot and heap more pressure on fourth placed Naga.