Metfone C-League action opens today with an evening matchup between defending champions Phnom Penh Crown and visiting PKR Svay Rieng at the RSN Stadium in the standout contest of the long weekend.
Both sides take to the pitch on the back of last-outing defeats. But while Crown were somewhat unlucky against Boeung Ket Angkor, Svay Rieng were clearly out of their depth at home against Army.
Third place Svay Rieng, on 13 points, will be looking for a result to keep them on the heels of the top two, while Crown, in sixth on eight points, will be out to propel themselves back into the title hunt.
Leaders Ministry of National Defence face bottom side Asia Europe United at the Old Stadium on Saturday. If the Army’s 5-1 drubbing of PKR last week is any guide, the side can look forward to an easy ride against a side yet to win a game this season in six attempts.
It has been a difficult season for the Police, Hun Sen Cup winners two years ago, who have remained winless so far with four draws and two defeats. The Police’s chances of regaining confidence look slim as they face joint-top Boeung Ket Angkor.
Boeung Ket coach Prak Sovanara will use the midweek Hun Sen Cup scare against Stung Treng as an example to his players ahead of Sunday’s clash with National Police that no side should ever be taken for granted.
Boeung Ket goal machine Chan Vathanaka enjoyed a five goal bounty, yet the heavyweights were rudely surprised by a visiting Stung Treng side who battled back from a four-goal deficit in the last 30 minutes to eventually go down 5-4 at the Olympic Stadium on Wednesday.
When Vathanaka struck his fifth in the 66th minute after scoring four in a 4-1 first-half mauling, it seemed as if the provincial side was in for a thumping. Yet in a dramatic final half-hour, Stung Treng smashed in three to rattle Sovanara’s side.
On the back of Siem Reap province holding 2014 Cup winners Police 2-2 last week, it suggests the provincial sides are starting to hold their own against top-flight opposition.
On Sunday, Cambodian Tiger FC take on NagaWorld clash in the evening game at Olympic Stadium.
In the rest of the midweek Hun Sen Cup action, Boeung Ket Youth, who hosted PKR Svay Rieng at their Rubber Field Stadium, eventually went down a respectable 3-1 after the Mekong Cup finalists were 2-0 up at the break.
The Ministry of National Defence showed no hospitality to their hosts Kampong Thom, winning 21-1.
Asia Europe United, away at Prey Veng, returned with a 3-0 win over the home side, while Cambodian Tiger FC were too good for Sihanoukville Port 5-0 at Olympic Stadium.
At the Kandal Stadium, visiting Kampong Chhnang secured their second win on top of a draw in Group A with a won 3-1victory over the home side Kandal to remain unbeaten in three games.