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Naga to rest top men ahead of playoffs; two friendlies planned

Metfone C-League-toppers Naga Corp are determined to bounce back quickly from their first loss of the season – a 4-0 humbling at the hands of bitter rivals Phnom Penh Crown Saturday – with experienced coach Prak Sovannara defiantly declaring “it was disappointing, but it is behind us.”

The weekend’s highly touted clash of the titans was marred by some rough play from both sides, although the referee’s decision making, which saw 11 men booked and two sent off, came under strong criticism. However, the Naga tactician was not one to point the finger.

“It was one of those days when things did not go our way. We had our chances,” he said.

“We are moving on. Our sights are firmly set on the playoffs and we are preparing as hard as we can for those challenges.”

Prak Sovannara revealed plans to play two friendlies after the conclusion of the regular season this weekend. “One will be against a police side, and the other against a select team comprising Nigerian players here,” he said.

The Naga coach, who led the Cambodian national team to success in the 2008 Suzuki Cup qualifiers played at Olympic Stadium, said he will also be giving his reserve players a run out in their remaining league fixture.

“I am pulling most of the regular players out of next Saturday's game [against Wat Phnom] so that they can be fresh for the playoffs. At the same time the bench strength can also be put to the test.”

Wat Phnom are currently destined for relegation, and need to win on Saturday if they hope to escape the drop zone. Naga already assured they will end the regular season in first place the previous week.

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