One of domestic football’s leading lights, Boeung Ket Angkor, will take on the might of Thailand’s all-conquering champions Buriram United in tomorrow’s Toyota Mekong Club Championship final at the National Stadium in Bangkok on Sunday at 7pm. The clash will be broadcast live on Bayon TV.
“It is a great opportunity for us to end the year on a high and showcase Cambodian football in the best possible way. We are playing the strongest club in Thailand, and that is a unique experience and a huge challenge,” reflected Boeung Ket coach Prak Sovanara, who bagged the coach of the year award at the end of the recently concluded Metfone C-League season.
Boeung Ket could not sustain their impeccable league phase record in the more demanding knockout stage, where they were beaten by NagaWorld in the semi-finals, ending a strong bid to regain their 2012 success. But Sovanara’s men found some recompense on the regional stage by pushing their way to this title clash with Buriram, who sealed the Thai Premier League with an emphatic 5-1 demolition of Port FC last Sunday.
After wins over the Laos Champions in Vientiane in early November, Boeung Ket dismissed Myanmar’s Yangon United at home before dealing Vietnam league winners Becamex Binh Duong a 3-0 defeat in the semi-finals to set up this Bangkok showpiece
The clash brings with it the mouthwatering prospect of a duel between the two leading scorers on either side, Chan Vathanaka (pictured, Sreng Meng Srun) for the visiting side and Brazilian Diogo Luis Santo, both of whom are clutching Golden Boots won by being league top-scorers at the end of the seasons in their respective leagues.
Buriram went through the league season to the top unbeaten in 34 games under Brazilian coach Alexandre Gama, who has already added the Kor Royal Cup and Thai League cup to the club’s crammed trophy cabinet.
The side from the northeastern province that borders Cambodia’s Oddar Meancheay signed Brazilian attacking midfielder and former Crystal Palace player Andre Moritz on December 6.
Having, as national coach, succeeded in steering Cambodia past the regional ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup qualifiers for the only time in 2009, Sovanara may well be able to inspire his side to pull off another notable victory.