A second-half brace from Brazilian import Maycon Calijuri featured in defending champions Boeung Ket’s 2-0 win over leaders Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng as the race for the playoff places in the Metfone C-League season heated up, with five teams closely grouped and a sixth not far behind.
Boeung Ket’s road trip to face the frontrunning PKR turned out to be a profitable one as the side continued its second-round resurgence.
On a rain affected pitch, the sides constantly probed each other’s territory without finding the net in the first half, but two goals in a space of less than 10 minutes by Calijuri towards the closing stages of the second session came as a complete shock for the tabletoppers.
The defeat, a second for PKR so far, was blamed squarely on the players’ lack of focus and more importantly communication by coach Sam Vandeth.Once again Calijuri led the charge for Boeung Ket and in tandem with Esoh Paul Omogba created some of the most exciting moments.
It came as no surprise that it was eventually Maycon who broke the deadlock in the 67th minute through opportunism, and he quickly doubled the advantage with another of his deft finishes to ensure Boeung Ket closed in to within two points of PKR and joint second with NagaWorld after the casino-backed side saw Phnom Penh Crown produce a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw at the RSN Stadium.
Rwandan Autheire Kipson, who is among the season’s leading scorers, produced a bold left-foot strike from the edge of the box to give Naga a 14th-minute lead. But a stiff fightback from Crown saw Keo Sokngon score an equaliser in the 82nd minute after a free-kick ignited a chain reaction inside the box.
The outcome of the two fixtures filled out the top four slots with the gap considerably narrowed following PKR’s defeat. The Svay Rieng side still sit atop with 35 points, closely followed by Boeung Ket and Naga on 33 points each. Crown are fourth on 32 points.
But there are signs of a sensational shake-up now that Ministry of National Defence, who lost ground with three straight defeats, managed to move within striking distance of the leading group after a 2-1 win over Cambodian Tiger at Old Stadium.
The Armymen are now on 30 points with everything to play for in the next five gameweeks. The most dangerous floaters at this stage are Cambodian Tigers on 28 points. A few good results and slip-ups by others could well open up a passage for them.