The aura of invincibility that seemingly surrounded Boeung Ket Angkor as the top-ranked side at the end of the Metfone C league phase a few days ago was shattered by NagaWorld in the first leg of their semi-final clash at the Old Stadium yesterday. In the other semifinal, Phnom Penh Crown got the measure of a fighting Cambodian Tiger FC 4-1 at the floodlit RSN Stadium.
Undeterred by their own loss to Svay Rieng last Thursday and Boeung Ket’s impressive track form, Naga, who grabbed the last available spot in the play off, stunned their rivals 3-1, leaving the 2012 champs with a tough task in the return clash on Wednesday.
Naga’s attacking spearhead Barry Lelouma drew first blood in the 13th minute, and in the next 25 minutes Naga added two more goals through Prak Chanrathana (pictured left, Hong Menea) and Khim Borey to force Boeung Ket on to the backfoot.
There was a glimmer of hope for Boeung Ket when Esoh Paul Omogba reduced the margin early in the second session, but that was the closest Naga would allow them on the day.
The victory has now left coach Meas Channa’s side with a good chance of taking a shot at the title they last won back in 2009.
Meanwhile, five-time champions Phnom Penh Crown playing on home turf, snuffed out a spirited challenge from Cambodian Tiger FC.
After the visitors had managed to stave off a couple of Shane Booysen’s incisive moves, Keo Sokpheng slotted the ball in from the top of the box greeting a well measured cross in the 32nd minute to open the account.
It did not take long for the Tigers to get back on level terms with the help of hardworking Privat.
But Shane Booysen once again hustled the Tigers defence into a costly error. He was brought down inside the box resulting in a penalty award that was hotly contested.
Bin Thiery who took the spot kick made no mistake though he found the top corner of the net with the ball probably brushing the crossbar on the way in.
Late in the game Crown rubbed in with two more goals to take a healthy lead to the second leg.