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Crown snatch back the lead at halfway point

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National Police Commissary’s Samut Dalin (right) goes for a high kick near the head and Phnom Penh Crown’s Hong Ratana during their Metfone C-League game on Saturday at the Old Stadium. Photo by: Sreng Meng Srun

National Police Commissary’s Samut Dalin (right) goes for a high kick near the head and Phnom Penh Crown’s Hong Ratana during their Metfone C-League game on Saturday at the Old Stadium. Photo by: Sreng Meng Srun

Title Holders Phnom Penh Crown regained the Metfone C-League top spot at the end of the first leg of the season after outplaying National Police Commissary 2-0 at the Old Stadium on Saturday.

It took just nine minutes for Crown’s new Japanese signing Takahito Ota to fire his side into the lead, but there was a long and often anxious wait until Chan Chaya put the result beyond doubt with a 70th minute strike.

The win takes Crown’s nine-match tally to 20 points, one point ahead of Naga Corp, who last week had jolted the defending champions at the same venue.

The Police team were forced onto the backfoot throughout and finished the game with nine men. Defender Ieng Tin picked up two yellow cards in a seven-minute span to get his marching orders from referee Khuon Virak on 38th minutes. A more galling spectacle on 76 minutes saw the league newcomer’s skipper Sophal Udom given a straight red for a disgraceful attempt to kick Crown fullback Anthony

Obadin in the face whilst the Nigerian was on the ground. Odom once again showed his inability to control a violent temper after being slapped with a six-month ban last year for attacking a referee when he was playing for Khemara Keila.

This was also the third successive match at the Army stadium where match officials have struggled to maintain authority over unruly behaviour.  

The league heads into its mid-season break of two weeks while attention shifts firmly to Wednesday’s 2014 World Cup qualifier between Cambodia and Laos at Olympic Stadium.

Kickoff is slated for 3pm with main stand tickets selling for 4,000 riels and 1,000 riels to watch from elsewhere. The return leg will be played in Vientiane on July 3.

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