For an embattled Ministry of National Defense, their road trip to the Svay Rieng stadium brought a sense of immense relief after turning what seemed an inevitable draw into a 2-1 win over home side Preah Khan Reach on Sunday evening.
With five defeats from eight games making it one of their worst ever Metfone C-League campaign starts, last year’s beaten league finalists were desperate for an end to their poor run of form.
To the team’s credit, their persistence was rewarded in injury time when South Korean midfielder Song Chi-hun nailed the match winner after compatriot Na Hyo-sang’s strike for a 20th-minute lead had been neutralised by Nub Tola’s 65th-minute eaqualiser.
In preseason transfer activity, Army offloaded all four of their North Korean imports, who were grabbed by new entrants Visakha. Army added three South Koreans and a Japanese to their stock.
Though the side started the season well, their form began to fade and the normally robust outfit was noticeably struggling with each passing week, adding to a growing sense of frustration.
EDC shocked by Siem Reap
After this confidence-boosting win the side can now hope for better results ahead.
The 2017 Hun Sen Cup winners Svay Rieng, who led the league for most of last season before being knocked out in the title playoffs, are also performing well below par having lost key players.
The home side kept fighting after the early Army goal, and after their equaliser just past the hour-mark, they seemed destined to hold Army to a draw until Song’s late winner.
At EdC Stadium, Electricite du Cambodge were unable to contain visitors from Siem Reap Soltilo Angkor, who raced to a 3-0 win on the back of a brace from Nigerian forward Dzarma Bata
As the teams prepared to take the break locked at 0-0, a tidy finish from Bata saw Angkor take the lead, and he was back a minute before the final whistle for a well-deserved double.
Abban James Kwame added the third within a minute.
A 35th-minute own goal at home was to haunt Western Phnom Penh, as the only side in the league without a point handed all three to Phnom Penh Crown, who owed their 1-0 win to Western forward Chantha Thonthean.