Four-time champions Phnom Penh Crown took a giant step towards their fifth title as they stretched their lead at the top of the Metfone C-League standings to seven points with a comfortable 3-1 win over Commissariat of National Police at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday.
Crown notched up their seventh straight win to keep at a safe distance the hard chasing Boeung Ket Rubber Field who were frustrated no end in their 1-1 draw with Ministry of National Defence yesterday.
The draw may have dealt a serious blow to Boeung Ket’s hopes of taking the title race to the wire.
With two more matches to go for the leading pair before their own classic confrontation in the last week of this month, neither could afford a blow out, but the seven-point buffer should keep Crown in good stead. There is now a distinct possibility that Crown could seal the deal well before their much anticipated clash with the Rubbermen.
The ever consistent and combative George Bisan hammered his 19th goal of the season to give Crown a 23rd minute lead. With the golden boot his for the asking, the striker proved a thorn in the Police flesh.
Crown was also well served by Odion Obadin, whose towering presence in the box during set pieces has been a notable feature. It was another firm Obadin header off a Pellegrino corner that helped Crown double the lead in the 40th minute.
By the hour mark, Crown had put the game well beyond the Police reach when Kouch Sokumpheak came with the third goal that gave the front runners a 3-0 advantage. For the Police, Tit Dina’s 75th minute goal was too little too late.
Boeung Ket yesterday opened the scoring with a stroke of pure luck, a clearance on the line ricocheting off Mohammed Tijani midway through the second half.
Minutes later, however, a resilient looking Army team levelled through a converted penalty by Ung Dara.
In Saturday’s first fixture, this year’s Hun Sen Cup runners-up Build Bright United asserted themselves with a 2-1 win over Kirivong Sok Sen Chey, who continue to dwell in the shadow of relegation.
Two first half goals gave BBU an upper hand and the visitors from Takeo could hardly make a match of it. Thai Phalla opened the scoring for BBU in the 24th minute and just before the breather, Ota Takahito added one more to the team’s kitty. The discernibly struggling Kirivong could only grab a poor consolation goal bang on the 90th minute through In Savoy.
Away at the Old Stadium, Yusuki Ueda’s goal deep into injury time helped bottom enders Albirex Niigata hold Asia Europe University safe 2-2.
After an unproductive first half, AEU took control of the game with goals in quick succession from Geoge Kelechi and Toeung Saroeung. But Albirex staged a brilliant rearguard with Ny Wadanak inspiring a fightback with a 74th minute goal and Ueda making certain that the spoils were shared.
Yesterday’s afternoon kickoff at the Olympic Stadium witnessed Western University maintain their push for survival with a 1-0 win over TriAsia. Reo Nakamura notched the decisive goal late on.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY DAN RILEY