A five-goal blitz in the second half saw Ministry of National Defense fight back after an early Phnom Penh Crown goal in a 5-1 win at the RSN Stadium on Sunday, lifting a revitalised Army into fourth in the Metfone C-League.
Crown included in their starting line-up newly acquired Brazilian Valci Junior, and the 6ft 3in 31-year-old gave the six-time champs a 16th minute lead after taking the pitch for the first time since moving to the Cambodian capital from Samut Sakhon.
Junior made 15 appearances for the Thai club.
The home side managed to handle hectic activity in their own half with some stout defending and zealously guard their advantage, but after the break their backline was eventually breached.
Japan’s Yudai Ogawa began the revival with a 58th minute leveller, and North Korean Nao Hyo-sang doubled the lead five minutes later. And both had plenty more to offer.
Another set of goals from the pair in the next 15 minutes completely turned the complexion of the game, and another North Korean, Yoo Jae-ho, got in on the act with a fifth to leave Crown reeling.
Visakha stay third
It came as a no surprise that Visakha kept their impressive form going by beating Siem Reap-based Angkor Tiger 4-1 to retain third spot behind Boeung Ket and Naga.
Visakha were never seriously challenged by the Tigers, hit with a fourth minute goal from Tith Dina, who came back later in the half to complete a well deserved double.
Visakha have secured the services of Cambodia forward Keo Sokpheng for the second half of the season, and the former Crown star bagged a brace of his own to complement Dina’s double.
Kazuteru Okamoto’s goal moments before Sokpheng’s second strike was the only positive the Tigers could carry back on the trip home.
Where one Siem Reap side failed, the other succeeded in earning all three points as Soltilo Angkor rode home on Dzarma Bata’s 43rd minute goal for a 1-0 victory over Asia Europe United.
After the 13th gameweek, Boeung Ket head the table with 33 points, with Naga two points adrift in second.
Visakha hold third place with 29 points, while Army on 24 are fourth. Crown are fifth, three points further back.