The round robin phase of the ongoing Metfone C-League season will come to a close after the last set of matches are completed in midweek, leading the top four teams in the final standings to the double-leg championship playoffs.
The highly anticipated clash at the Old Stadium between current leaders Boeung Ket Angkor and the second-placed Phnom Penh Crown is the standout tie in tomorrow’s three-game card, which also throws up an exciting encounter between former champions Svay Rieng and NagaWorld at the provincial capital.
Beaten only once during the campaign so far, Boeung Ket carry a three-point cushion over Phnom Penh Crown and need nothing more than a draw to retain their top ranking.
For five-time champions Crown, though, only victory can take them past their rivals for one last time at the end of a league campaign in which the lead had been changing hands for almost the entire length of the competition.
Boeung Ket and Crown have set such a strong pace throughout the season that the rest have been left a respectful distance behind. So much of the riveting interest during the midweek action will be on those teams pushing their claims for the two remaining spots in the playoffs.
It is in this context that the game between Svay Rieng and third-placed NagaWorld assumes great importance for the visitors from Phnom Penh, although the home team is clearly out of the reckoning at this stage.
Naga had an inconsistent first half of the campaign, though they managed to make steady headway in the second to pull themselves into third.
The standout fixture at the Olympic Stadium today is the evening encounter between National Police and Cambodian Tiger FC. Following their narrow defeat by Crown last week, Police find themselves the last of the playoff hopefuls in sixth and nothing but a win against the Tigers will keep them in the hunt.
For the Tigers, the aim will be the consolidation of the fourth spot they hold in the standings going into this final game.
Deep in the relegation mire in 11th, Western Phnom Penh face the daunting task of keeping a robust National Ministry of Defence at bay.
The Armymen will be out in full force against the second-from-bottom team in the hope a big win might give them a place in the playoffs if the other results among adversaries go their way.
Equally significant is the relegation battle, with Kirivong Sok Sen Chey, rooted to the bottom on just 11 points, the worst off of the other three teams in the danger zone.
Western Phnom Penh are on 13 points, while Asia Europe and Cambodian Mines Action Center are on 14 points each.
The last game of the cycle, between Kirivong and CMAC, could well be a battle of survival for either side with the pressure squarely on the visitors from Takeo to overcome the debutants with a scoreline big enough to give them an outside chance of safety with a better goal difference.
On the back of their thrilling comeback win against Svay Rieng, Build Bright United take on Asia Europe United. For the mid-table BBU there is nothing of value at stake except pride, while Asia Europe just below them must get a result to guarantee top flight football next season.
Western Phnom Penh v National Defence @ Western Stadium, 3.30pm
Build Bright United v Asia Europe United @ Olympic Stadium, 3.30pm
National Police v Cambodian Tiger @ Olympic Stadium, 6pm
Boeung Ket v Crown @ Olympic Stadium, 3.30pm
Svay Rieng v NagaWorld @ Svay Rieng Stadium, 6pm
Kirivong v CMAC @ Olympic Stadium, 6pm