Svay Rieng were eliminated from the 2014 AFC President’s Cup on Saturday after succumbing to their second successive defeat in as many Group C matches
Having lost 6-3 to Nepalese club Manang Marshyangdi on Thursday night at the MFF Football Centre in Ulan Bator, the Metfone C-League champions again struggled to contend with their regional rivals, slumping to a 3-1 defeat by host side Erchim.
Perhaps unbelievably, the Cambodian’s suffered yet another own-goal blunder inside the first 10 minutes, this time by defender Nen Sothearoth.
Svay Rieng captain Prak Mony Odom quickly managed to drag things level, but Erchim’s teenage forward Gal-erdene Soyol-Erdene pushed the home side back in front with a strike on
The 18-year-old Mongolian then sent the 3,600-strong crowd into raptures with a strike on the stroke of half time. A barren second half tainted only with the sending off of Svay Rieng’s Suon Veasna for a second booking meant Erchim completed their nation’s first victory in an AFC competition.
Erchim and Manang will play tonight from 4pm Cambodian time to decide who will top Group C, with both already confirmed to advance to the finals stage in late September at a location yet to be confirmed.
Svay Rieng, meanwhile, will return home and immediately start preparations for the 2014 RHB Singapore Cup, which kicks off its own preliminary stage on May 25.
A draw held on Saturday saw Svay Rieng pitted against Albirex Niigata, the Japanese S.League franchise which also has a team based in Cambodia. The Singapore outfit, however, has more impressive credentials, having finished runners-up in the 2011 edition of the Cup and ending fifth in last year’s S.League standings behind fourth-placed Home United.
2013 Samdech Hun Sen Cup winners Naga Corp will face off with Home United, who are the reigning Singapore Cup champions and record six-time holders of the prestigious trophy.
Dates and venues for the eight preliminary-round games in Singapore are to be confirmed, with quarter-finals and semi-finals leading up to the final on November 8.
Other foreign clubs brought into this year’s Cup campaign include Global FC and Loyola Meralco Sparks, both from the Philippines, as well as SHB Champasak FC from Laos.
Back in Cambodia, the Metfone C-League clashes over the weekend saw Naga rise emphatically to the top of the table with a 5-0 spanking of Western University at the Olympic Stadium last night.
Recently acquired Guinean striker Barry Lelouma claimed the match ball for his rousing hat-trick while team-mates Teab Vathanak and Choun Chum also got their names on the scoresheet.
Naga vaulted over casino-backed rivals Phnom Penh Crown into first place on 23 points, although Crown have the chance to retake the lead by beating Svay Rieng by more than three goals in their postponed league encounter on May 21.
Earlier yesterday, Boueng Ket Rubber Field momentarily scaled the MCL summit with a 2-0 victory over Build Bright United that took them past the 2012 champions on 21 points.
Mohammed Tijani put the Kampong Cham side in front on 15 minutes and goal machine Khoun Laboravy doubled the advantage six minutes later.
Saturday’s game heralded a pair of 1-0 wins at the Old Stadium, with Asia Europe University edging National Police Commissary thanks to a 78th-minute strike from Sary Matnorotin, while Kirivong Sok Sen Chey began their comeback from a poor season so far with a solitary winner on 25 minutes by In Vichheka.
At the Olympic Stadium, TriAsia Phnom Penh overcame a stoic Ministry of Nation Defence 3-2 to cement their place in the top half of the table.
Kihara Masakazu opened the scoring early on and Soung Virak added another for TriAsia after 13 minutes.
The Army team struck back either side of the half-hour mark through a wonder goal from Pum Tola and an equaliser by Poeu Phearith. However, Masakuza had the last say in the matter, sealing all three points with his second of the day on 73 minutes.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING MY CHHORN NORN