Defending champions Svay Rieng made up some ground on the leading pack at the end of seven weeks of action in the Metfone C-League after a 4-1 victory yesterday over Kirivong Sok Sen Chey, with all the goals coming in the first-half at the Olympic Stadium.
Svay Rieng’s third win in six outings was built on a brace by hard-working striker Dzarma Bata, who nicely centred the ball for Moung Makara to score the third. Takeo-based Kirivong contributed one more to the kitty through Touch Sokheng’s own goal.
The only bright spot for Kirivong was a brilliant solo effort by Carlos Alberto Santos de Deus, who managed to level on 12 minutes following Svay Rieng’s sixth-minute opener from Bata.
The portents were ominous for Kirivong within the first few attacking moves by Svay Rieng, when Bata greeted Nofiu Rasak Lawal’s cross with a neat placement to open the account.
Even as the South American De Deus gave his team heart to fight with that leveler, the equation firmly worked in favour of Svay Rieng once Kirivong made that horrible slip in their own backyard.
Bata and Makara quickly consolidated the lead and Svay Rieng could then afford to slow down the tempo in the second-half.
The winless Kirivong are now loitering in the rear with four points from seven games (four draws and three defeats) just ahead of bottom-enders Albirex Niigata.
Meanwhile close calls and slender victory margins marked the rest of Saturday’s action.
Striker Bisan George’s 19th-minute goal turned out to be the match winner for four-time champions Phnom Penh Crown against TriAsia at the Olympic Stadium.
In the later fixture, Hun Sen Cup runners-up Build Bright United rode home that momentum with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Ministry of National Defence.
The University-backed side grimly held on to a fourth minute strike by Takno Marin while keeping the Armymen at bay the rest of the way.
Crown took several promising swipes at their opponent’s goal to try and beef up their lead without success while TriAsia’s desperate search for an equaliser proved fruitless.
Though the top tier start-ups managed to limit the damage to that one early goal, their own attacking trio of Soung Virak, Kouch Dany and Khara Masakazu couldn’t make the most of the chances they were able to create.
The victory helped Crown retain their dominance in the league standings, albeit only by goal-difference at 16 points over Naga Corp, who hit back at National Police Commissary 2-1 at the Old Stadium on Saturday to avenge their narrow Cup semi-final defeat. Sun Sovannrithy stepped in to convert a penalty kick as early as the eighth minute to give Naga a whirlwind start.
Fighting as hard as they always do, the Police found the equaliser through Noun Borey deep into stoppage time in the first-half after the game had been delayed due to repairs on the goal net.
Sun Sovannrithy was back to settle the argument once and for all in the 83rd minute with a perfect header.
Amazingly enough, a fiercely fought encounter between Boeung Ket Rubber Field and Asia Europe University took several devious turns before Chukwuma Ohuruogu’s 79th-minute goal ensured a 3-2 win for the 2013 runners-up and 2012 winners.
The teams shared four goals in the first half an hour of intense action. The AEU joy of watching Ear Phiroth drive the team into the lead in the 17th minute was shortlived as Mohammed Tijani came up with a 20th minute strike for Boeung Ket.
The University lads led again when Prak Vanny scored in the 26th minute only to see Chan Vatanaka restore parity two minutes later.
At 2-2 each side had as good a shout as the other until Darlington snatched the full set of points for Boeung Ket, who are now third in the table with 15 points. AEU slipped down to ninth having suffered their fourth loss on top of a lone win and two draws.