Defending champions Boeung Ket beat the clock to see off rivals NagaWorld 3-2 following a controversial penalty on the stroke of regulation time to reclaim top spot in the standings at the end of the first phase of the Metfone C-League season Stadium on Sunday evening.
Star Cambodia forward Chan Vathanaka returned to the Boeung Ket fold after nearly a year in Japan and Malaysia. He received his No11 Jersey the day before this crucial top of the table clash but he will have to wait until the start of the second round to kick a ball for the team he has had outstanding previous success with.
It was a tight affair, with neither side willing to let the other get the upper hand but, as the final whistle drew near, Brazilian Maycon Calijuri went down in the box, seemingly clipped from behind.
There were protests from Naga players but a penalty was given and Calijuri fired home to break the 2-2 deadlock and give his side a morale-boosting win going into the second round of matches – not only as clear league leaders but also as the only unbeaten side left in the competition.
It was Naga’s second defeat after a 3-0 reverse to Visakha.
Army rout Police
A 25-yard screamer from Mat Yamin 15 minutes into the game gave Boeung Ket an early lead, but George Bisan cleverly pulled the ball back from the line to cue up midfielder Kouch Sokumpheak for the captain to level before half-time.
Boeung Ket regained the lead when Calijuri’s pinpoint centre set up Paul Omogba, before Naga levelled through Mathew Osa. And just when the teams were set to share the points came the spot kick that saw Boeung Ket keep the spoils.
Elsewhere, Ministry of National Defense were on a roll in a 4-0 thumping of Commiisary of National Police. South Korean Yoo Jae-ho struck a brace as compatriot Hyo Sung slipped one between the two strikes. Roung Bunheng added one more to kill off the game.
Asia Europe United downed Electricite du Cambodge 2-0, on the back of goals from Momoh Degule Sumaila and Privat Mbarga.
Going into next week’s second round, Boeung Ket top the table with 27 points, two clear of Naga, who are two in front of third-placed Visakha.
Phnom Penh Crown and Ministry of National Defence share fourth place with 18 points each.