Boeung Ket ran into an unexpectedly stiff challenge from Siem Reap-based Soltilo Angkor before Samuel Ajayi nailed the match winner to ensure a 2-1 win for the defending champions at Olympic Stadium on Saturday.
If the Metfone C-League leaders had anticipated an easier time of it after Julius Oiboh gave them an eighth minute goal, they were greeted with a fitting response within minutes.
The seasoned Dzarma Bata, who has played with and against some of the best in the league over the years he has spent at various clubs, turned in an equaliser to shift the pressure back on Boeung Ket.
With honours even at the end of the first session and Soltilo defiantly holding their ground, it was up to the reigning champions to redouble their efforts.
Much to the side’s relief, Ajayi got the winner to not only extend the team’s firm grip on the standings but also safeguard their unbeaten run three gameweeks into the league’s second phase.
Visakha stay second
Sensing the importance of keeping their own title aspirations alive, Visakha muscled their way past Asia Europe United 4-2 after early defensive flutters at both ends saw a goal each within the first few minutes.
But the steadier and sturdier of the two, Visakha powered home to take the victory.
After Kelechi Stanley and Kim Kyong-hun goals cancelled each other out, goals from Hyok Chol, Keo Sokpheng and Mat Sakrovy got Visakha home.
Befolo Mbarga’s goal deep into stoppage time for AEU was to prove a consolation.
Visakha retain second spot. With NagaWorld to lock horns with rivals Phnom Penh Crown on Sunday, Visakha would share second place with the casino-backed outfit if they were to take all three points.
But if Naga were to slip up then Visakha would have second all to themselves.
Meanwhile, the visiting Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng could only churn out a 1-1 draw against Angkor Tiger in temple town.
Taing Sopheak had the Tigers celebrating the lead in the 19th minute.
But on the stroke of the hour, Sergio Barbosa equalised to salvage a point for Svay Rieng.