Table-TOPPING Phnom Penh Crown are poised to strike another winning blow at the Olympic Stadium tomorrow when they meet demotion certs Albirex Niigata in a winding run towards the Metfone C-League title they last captured in 2011.
Crown have opened up a five-point cushion over the chasing pack headed by Boeung Ket Rubber Field, whose chances of ranging alongside the pace-makers was seriously hurt by a loss to title holders Svay Rieng last week.
If Crown were to stick to their solid performances of the last few weeks they should safely keep their gun run going.
Meanwhile Boeung Ket, who are the only ones to have beaten Crown this league season, are hell bent on recovering their poise after last week’s reverse, which saw the 2012 champions stitched up most dramatically by a team that was thought to be performing well below their known form in the run up to that game.
The Rubbermen, who take the pitch before the Crown game, should have no qualms in dealing with Western University, who going by their current track record are highly unlikely to upset last year’s runners-up.
A sense of urgency has turned into one of desperation for Naga Corp, who face a daunting task of catching up first with Boueng Ket and then Crown.
At the Old Stadium tomorrow, Naga are pitted against TriAsia, whose steely resolve has been a source of worry for many top teams this season.
In the day’s first fixture, Ministry of National Defence are up against Kirivong Sok Sen Chey, whose pressing agenda at this stage is to crawl out of the demotion threat. The visitors from Takeo are well aware that their only chance of survival is to do better than Western in the remaining matches.
Two interesting match-ups will unfold at the Olympic Stadium on Sunday.
After their great escape against Albirex Niigata last week, when an injury time goal turned a certain defeat into a face saving draw, Hun Sen Cup runners up Build Bright United will be hoping for a better outcome when they meet Asia Europe University, another of those teams whose reputation as a fighting outfit has been greatly enhanced during the season.
Svay Rieng may consider their latest win over Boeung Ket as a new set of springs in their heels, though their title hopes remain foggy to say the least.
A good performance against the National Police, however, may do some good for the defending champions’ self esteem.
The Police, meanwhile, are eyeing a podium finish as a compliment to their maiden success in the Hun Sen Cup this year.
Saturday June 21
At the Old Stadium
MND v Kirivong SSC – 1:30pm
TriAsia v Naga Corp – 3:45pm
At the Olympic Stadium
Boeung Ket v Western Uni – 3:30pm
PP Crown v Albirex Niigata – 6pm
Sunday June 22
At the Olympic Stadium
AEU v BBU – 3:30pm
Svay Rieng v National Police – 6pm