ASPECA beat Crossroads 1-0 Saturday in Battambang league
ASPECA and Crossroads were both well aware that Saturday’s match was one of the most promising and important matches of the season, and arrived at the Institute of Technology in Battamabang an hour before kickoff. After a draw against Baitong FC, and victory against winless KCD Rangers, the ASPECA team had their sights set on leapfrogging Crossroads into the top spot.
The early stages of the game were dominated by the bright orange of ASPECA, who chipped neat passes down the middle to put pressure on the Crossroads defence. However, efforts at goal were either off target or held by the goalkeeper. Crossroads’ sporadic attacks were competently dealt with by a well-marshalled ASPECA defence.
In the 20th minute, ASPECA’s left midfielder Saom Sereyvatana sped down the left wing and hit the ball high into the penalty area. To the surprise of all spectators and players, defender Pov Leangheng panicked and played the ball with both hands, leaving the referee no choice but to award a penalty. ASPECA’s German volunteer Friedrich Hüttner stepped up to take the spotkick, striking confidently into the bottom-left corner to give keeper Tit Engsroun no chance. Crossroads failed to find an equaliser for the remainder of the game as ASPECA held on to grab a vital three points.
In the second game Saturday, Solar FC beat Catholics 2-0 to claim a share of second place with Crossroads and Jerusalem on six points.
The only team that could catch up with ASPECA that weekend was Baitong FC. They played their third game Sunday against KCD Rangers, who are turning into the league whipping boys. Baitong FC started the match in their best formation, and the goals came thick and fast. However, in the second half, the Baitong FC coach fielded a second-string squad, allowing KCD Rangers to pull two goals back, doubling their tally for the season. Baitong FC eventually emerged comfortable 11-2 victors in the match.
After three games played, ASPECA and Baitong FC lead the league on seven points a piece, although Baitong hold the edge with a superior goal difference. Next weekend the competition continues, with the standout fixture being Solar FC v Baitong FC on Sunday.