Looking solid and seemingly unbeatable less than a month ago in domestic competition, defending Metfone C-League champions Boeung Ket have suffered a baffling dip in form, highlighted by Wednesday’s 7-5 beating at the hands of Kirivong Sok Sen Chey.
If good things happened to Boeung Ket during the first phase of the season, with 10 wins on the trot, trouble has come of late.
Nothing has gone right for Boeung Ket after their narrow defeat by Palestine champs Hilal Al-Quds in the AFC President’s Cup group phase last month. Local side Tanjong Pagar United cut them down to size in the Singapore Cup two weeks back.
Upon their return to the second half of the MCL campaign, there has been one setback after another. The first to rub Boeung Ket on the wrong side was Asia Europe University, who forced a fighting draw. Then the Kampong Cham side were done in by an own goal against Build Bright United. To add insult to injury, Boeung Ket blew a 5-3 lead and saw Kirivong produce a four-goal blitz in the dash home.
It is against the backdrop of this disappointing turn of events that Boeung Ket get down to play former league winners Phnom Penh Crown in a crucial tie at Olympic Stadium at 2pm tomorrow.
Crown will be eager to get back at Boeung Ket and avenge their first-round loss. The four-time champions are currently third in the standings at 22, just a point ahead of Naga Corp and Kirivong. Boeung Ket are on 31 points.
Stressed as they are going into this game, Boeung Ket will have to stand up to the tough test of resilience Crown are bound to put them through.
Another high stakes match-up has been fixed for 4pm when Kirivong and Naga get down to fight for better running position in the standings.
Naga’s patchy form continues to be a source of worry for the team’s management. Kirivong, on the other hand, can take a lot of heart from their latest pyrotechnics against the table-toppers.
One team happy over the diminishing lead at the top of the standings will be Svay Rieng, who are chasing Boeung Ket hard in second position. Four points separate the top two and Svay Rieng will be hoping to grab the full set of points from Ministry of National Defence when the two sides kick off Saturday’s only fixture at the Old Stadium at 3pm.
Svay Rieng’s time-tested striker Khoun Laboravy was on a roll against Senate Secretariat last weekend and his blazing form should be a comforting thought for Svay Rieng, though they have to deal with a bunch of tough customers in MND.
The battle of the backmarkers features in Sunday’s first game. Asia Europe University has earned a lot of friends through gritty displays against some of the top tier’s most seasoned teams, and the University-backed side clearly comes out as the form choice when they meet the much tormented Senate.
National Police Commissary are not far from the teams crowding behind Boeung Ket and Svay Rieng, and they will be looking for nothing less than a win over Build Bright United, who received an unexpected midweek gift from Boeung Ket nine days ago.