Enjoying greater possession and aerial superiority, Global FC from the Philippines got the measure of Cambodian champions Boeung Ket Angkor 3-1 in front of a sparse crowd at the Rizal Meorial Stadium in Manila on Wednesday evening to make the Asean Zone semifinals of the AFC Cup as Group F winners.
Malaysia’s Johor Darul Ta’zim qualified for the zonal semis as the best placed runners-up after beating Magwe FC of Myanmar 3-1 in what was a must-win away clash for the 2015 winners.
While Global topped the four-team group with 15 points, Johor followed in second spot with 13. Boeung Ket were third with four points, with Magwe at the foot of the table with just two draws to their credit.
Disappointed though he was with the result, head coach John McGlynn took many positives from his side’s first AFC Cup experience.
“We learned and are encouraged that we can compete at this higher level. And making the group stages for the first time in the country’s history was an achievement in itself,” the Australian told The Post yesterday. “Then to win and draw a game further indicated that we deserved our place in the competition.
“Competing at a much higher technical level with a faster speed of play against more organised teams you soon learn that any basic defensive errors made are dealt with and usually punished.
“It’s very disappointing that we didn’t perform to the level I know we are capable of.
“We now return to concentrate on our league and cup campaigns. We will have a day off to gather our thoughts and reassess our injuries and situation and then prepare for our upcoming game against CMAC on Sunday.”
With the AFC Cup out of the way, Boeung Ket will be able to concentrate on improving on their current fourth spot in the table by making the most of the two remaining games in the league’s first phase, which ends next Sunday.
And on paper at least, Boeung Ket ought to have an easy time against CMAC United on Sunday at 6pm at Old Stadium, but how much McGlynn (pictured, Sreng Meng Srun) can rally his troops after back-to-back defeats by Crown and Global remains to be seen.
Second division winners Kirivong Sok Sen Chey have struggled so far this season to to bridge the gulf in class since their promotion. Rooted to the bottom of the table, Kirivong supporters in Takeo will be hoping for a bit of a cheer when they host Commissary of National Police at 3pm.
Western Phnom Penh will surely be oozing confidence after the way they beat Army last week. They will be seeking to put that momentum to good use on their own turf when they meet Asia Europe United in Sunday’s other 3pm match.
Unbeaten Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng will host NagaWorld in a Metfone C-League Saturday evening blockbuster, the result of which could have a massive impact on the top half of the table.
With former National head coach Lee Tae Hoon now the club’s technical consultant, Svay Rieng will be keen to stretch their current three-point lead over the pack led by Army with victory in the 6pm clash at Svay Rieng Stadium.
Also of huge significance is the clash at Old Stadium at 6pm between second placed Ministry of National Defence and the in-form Phnom Penh Crown, fresh from their 4-0 drubbing of Boeung Ket last weekend.
Four of the top five teams square off on Saturday’s card, which opens with Cambodian Tiger hosting Electricite du Cambodge at Siem Reap Stadium at 3pm.