Phnom Penh Crown polished off their title-winning Metfone C League campaign in style with a 2-1 victory over Boeung Ket Rubber Field under blazing lights at the Olympic Stadium on Sunday.
The victory not only avenged their first-round defeat but also sweetened regaining the domestic football supremacy they last commanded in 2011. This was Crown’s fifth league success in 12 years and their third this decade.
For the second year in succession, the 2012 champions, Boeung Ket, were forced to play second fiddle.
In the first fixture of the day, 2009 champions NagaCorp routed bottom-of-the-table Albirex Niigata 6-0 to finish third in the standings.
The title race was all over bar the shouting two weeks ago after Crown’s 1-0 victory over Naga Corp gave them an unassailable lead over hot pursuers Boeung Ket.
Svay Rieng made a small dent in Crown’s pride last week but coach Sam Shweingruber’s men quickly recovered their winning touch, despite enduring the last 30 minutes of the game with only 10 men on the pitch.
Crown’s attacking spearhead George Bisan closed in on an ill-judged Ly Ravy backpass to give Crown an early lead, though the second-best scorer this season after Svay Rieng’s Dzarma Bata had to leave the pitch with an injury a little while later.
Crown were more than happy to enjoy that slender lead during the break but there was more cheer to follow soon after resumption.
A familiar set-piece scenario was re-enacted when Adri-ano Pellegrino’s well-weighted free-kick was turned in by Odion Obaidin.
Amid growing desperation came a glimmer of hope for Boeung Ket when Crown’s Hong Pheng had to leave the pitch after his second yellow booking. Yet Crown stoutly stood their ground.
Boeung Ket won a penalty at the count of stoppage time and Chan Vathanaka made
It was a goal that came far too late to make any impression on Crown, however, whose thoughts had by then already turned to the impending celebrations.
Prize money and awards
Crown were awarded a cash prize of 60 million riel ($15,000) for winning the title. Second-placed Boeung Ket got 46 million riel, while third-placed Naga picked up 36 million riel.
It was a rewarding day for Albirex Niigata despite the first foreign franchise to figure in the Premier League ending up at the bottom of the table. The team bagged the fair play trophy and 4 million riel.
Best Coach: Ung Kanyanith (National Police)
Best Goalkeeper: Su Yathy (Phnom Penh Crown)
Best Player: Chan Vathanaka (Boeung Ket Rubber)
Top scorer: Dzarma Bata (Svay Rieng) with 23 goals.
All the individual awards carried a purse of 1.5 million riel each.