Three of the top four in the Metfone C-League standings were beaten in the final week of action on Saturday as Boeung Ket’s hard-earned win over Asia Euro United delivered the top playoff spot to the defending champions as a reward for their resurgence in the second half of the season.
With the semifinal slots sealed, the focus was firmly on the order of the league finish, but defeats for NagaWorld and Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng presented Boeung Ket with a dream opening. They seized it by edging out AEU 4-3 to top the league with 48 points from 22 games, ahead of Svay Rieng (46), NagaWorld (45) and Ministry of National Defence (42).
NagaWorld and Army will face off on December 9 to earn the right to challenge Svay Rieng. The winners of the second playoff on December 23 will meet Boeung Ket in the championship game on December 31.
Dramatic twists and turns on Saturday saw Naga go down to Cambodian Tiger 2-1 in Siem Reap and Army suffer a reverse at the hands of National Police also by the odd goal in three.
But away in Svay Rieng it was a much bigger shock as long-time leaders PKR went down to Phnom Penh Crown by the same margin.
After a barren first half, Crown went ahead in the 68th minute through Shane Booysen. The home side equalised eight minutes later but a Mao Piseth strike 10 minutes before the final whistle helped Crown end the season on a high despite missing out on a playoff place.
Crown finished fifth, level on 42 points with Army and with a healthy goal difference to boot. But that was of no avail as head-to-head the Army won both legs against Crown and that is what ultimately counted.