This weekend’s top-of-the-table clash between Boeung Ket and NagaWorld, which is set for an early kick-off at Old Stadium on Saturday, could help point to the destiny of the Metfone C-League title.
The top two contenders, with Naga just a point behind the reigning champions, will meet again in the league after their highly combative Hun Sen Cup quarterfinal first leg – in which Naga took a 2-0 advantage.
Going into matchweek 18, just one point splits the two sides, and a win for either will be of immense psychological advantage in the home stretch.
At this stage, both sides are well aware of how damaging it could be dropping points in this key game.
While the two have now put some distance between themselves and third placed top-flight debutants Visakha – just three points behind Naga – unexpected results could mean a group finish so there is still everything to play for.
Crown out for revenge
Another dramatic Cup matchup will be repeated when Phnom Penh Crown host Siem Reap-based Angkor Tiger.
Six-time champions Crown can get a modicum of revenge for their Cup defeat by the Tigers, who came back from three goals down from the first leg to snatch a thrilling penalty shootout win to make the semis of the tournament for the first time in the club’s history.
Narrowly beaten 1-0 by Boeung Ket with a late strike last weekend, Visakha’s efforts to sustain their challenge in their first season suffered a slight setback, but it is by no means end of their title fight.
They face Soltilo Angkor.
On Sunday, Asia Europe United will be in bouyed after their 6-1 rout of Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng when they take on the second bottom Electricite du Cambodge at Olympic Stadium.
The toughest game of the day could well be between Ministry of National Defense and National Police, both of whom have made of the Cup semis.
Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng should be expected to chalk up a comfortable victory over league whipping boys Western Phnom Penh.
With 16 defeats – including an 8-0 hammering in the reverse fixture – and a draw, it has been a disastrous season for the winless Western, who finished comfortably in 12th place last year. But 2013 champions Svay Rieng’s form has been patchy this season.