Striker George Kelechi’s 82nd-minute goal ensured a 2-1 win for NagaWorld over National Police in a Metfone C-League tie at the Olympic Stadium on Wednesday as the casino-backed side prepared for a trip to Mongolia for the three-team AFC Cup 2017 playoff qualifiers beginning early next week.
A 39th-minute goal from Sok Sovanarithy gave Naga a 1-0 first-half advantage. Police equalised with a 50th-minute strike from Michael Osei Tutu, but Kelechi’s late goal sealed the victory for Naga.
With this win, Naga retain their third spot in the league behind leaders Boeung Ket and second-placed Ministry of National Defence, but more importantly coach Meas Channa’s side relished the victory as an encouraging sign ahead of their first fixture in Mongolia against Nepal’s Three Star Club on Tuesday.
Naga will take on local champions Erchim FC in Thursday’s final game. The winner of the playoff will move up to the next stage of the competition.While expressing his delight with the outcome of the Police game, coach Channa stressed the importance of performing well in the playoffs.
“We missed out on the Hun Sen Cup, we are well off the league pace with nothing much left, so this is our big chance to prove we are worthy Cambodian representatives,” he said.
Meanwhile, defending champions Phnom Penh Crown, who are out of the League reckoning this season, outplayed Western Phnom Penh 3-1 at the RSN Stadium on Wednesday.
Keo Sokpheng hit Crown in the lead in the 15th minute but three minutes after the resumption Run Rany equalised for Western.
Crown took the lead back through Kim Hyeon-woo, who got the final touch, from close range, to a Bin Thierry corner that was touched on by Sraing Titchhy after 61 minutes. A first time volley by Kim minutes later polished off the Crown tally – though he came close to a hat-trick, a fierce drive crashing against the crossbar.
Meanwhile, as the league title race tightens between Boeung Ket Angkor and Ministry of National Defence, coach Prak Sovanara’s men hit the road to Svay Rieng today to face local giants Preah Khan Reach in what could be a tricky encounter for the leaders.
The Svay Rieng-Boeung Ket clash, to be broadcast live on BTV from 6pm, is this week’s marquee matchup, and one that will be watched with great interest by Army, who have a relatively easier task handling Cambodian Mines Action Center at the Olympic Stadium in the only match billed for Sunday, at 3.30pm.
In two matches slated for Saturday, AEU meet Phnom Penh Crown (6pm at Olympic Stadium), while Western Phnom Penh take on Cambodian Tiger (3.30pm at Western Stadium).