Royal Cambodian Navy supported Chhlam Samuth, a virtual rebranding of last year’s relegated club Wat Phnom, came out with guns blazing in a three-team playoff to capture the lone spot on offer in the forthcoming 2011 Metfone C-League.
The Football Federation of Cambodia sanctioned playoff was triggered by Khemara Keila’s decision to pull out from this year’s competition, blaming a crippling financial situation.
The Navy outfit swamped fellow demotees last year Chhma Khmao from Svey Rieng province 8-0 last Monday and were equally assertive on Friday in their 3-0 win over Neak Khiev from Kampong Cham province. Chhma Khmao remained winless after losing 4-1 to Neak Khiev on Wednesday.
The opening game of this three-team event turned out to be a stormy one. Even as the Sea Sharks rained goals on the hapless Black Cats, the provincial side responded with less than elegant ways to stem the rot.
Chhma Khmao allowed growing frustration to show in some reckless challenges, resulting in three players being red carded in a span of 43 minutes and forcing them to spend the last 10 minutes with only eight men on the pitch. Peou Samnang meanwhile grabbed a hat-trick for the rampant Chhlam Samuth.
The 2011 Metfone C-League is set to kick off on April 2 with a titanic clash between holders Phnom Penh Crown and 2009 champions Naga Corp at the Olympic Stadium. The league will be competed by ten teams including newly promoted sides National Police Commissary and Kampong Cham outfit Rithy Sen, as well as playoff winners Chhlam Samuth and the more established likes of Phnom Penh Crown, Preah Khan Reach, Build Bright United, Naga Corp, National Defence Ministry, Kirivong Sok Sen Chey and Prek Pra Keila.