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Crown, Kirivong vie for third

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Phnom Penh Crown’s Sos Souhana (C) takes on Kirivong players during their Metfone C-League match at Olympic Stadium on April 29 last year. The teams will clash in the third-place playoff of the 7th Samdech Hun Sen Cup from 2pm today, Feb. 14, 2013. Photograph: Sreng Meng Srun/Phnom Penh Post

Phnom Penh Crown’s Sos Souhana (C) takes on Kirivong players during their Metfone C-League match at Olympic Stadium on April 29 last year. The teams will clash in the third-place playoff of the 7th Samdech Hun Sen Cup from 2pm today, Feb. 14, 2013. Photograph: Sreng Meng Srun/Phnom Penh Post

The third-place playoff of the Samdech Hun Sen Cup will be played today at 2pm at Olympic Stadium, with Phnom Penh Crown and Kirivong Sok Sen Chey, both losers in last Friday’s semi-finals via penalty shootouts, battling it out for the 20 million riel ($5021) cash bounty.

Kirivong were surprisingly dominant in the first half of their semi-final against Naga Corp, a clear justification of why they have achieved the best Cup run in the Takeo-based club’s history this year.

First-time coach Tep Long Rachana said he felt proud of what his players had accomplished so far.

“No injuries or suspensions are going to hold us back from playing our best possible football. We are confident that we have a good chance of ending up in third place,” Rachana told the Post yesterday.

After eliminating tournament favourites and Metfone C-League champions Boeung Ket Rubber Field as well as holders Preah Khan Reach, Crown fell just short last week against Ministry of National Defence.

A hamstring injury to their main striker Khim Borey, which is expected to sideline the national-team star for two weeks, is a significant blow to the two-time Cup winners and will make it that much harder for them to overcome a tenacious Kirivong outfit.

“The fact both teams lost in a penalty shootout shows how close the gap between the teams is,” Crown coach Sam Schweingruber said. “I can’t guess who is going to take third place in our match. We have some injuries, but our goal is to dominate the situation and come out on top at the end.”

Regardless of the outcome this afternoon, Crown intend to thank their supporters and celebrate their promising start to the football calendar by holding an official Fan Club Open Day from 2pm on Sunday at their RSN Stadium in Tuol Kork district. The first 30 fans through the gate will receive free tickets to all of Crown’s league games for the rest of the 2013 campaign.

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