Former champions Phnom Penh Crown picked all three points for the second week with a 1-0 win over Nagaworld in their Metfone C-League tie at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday.
In the day’s other fixtures, last season’s runners-up Ministry of National Defence began their quest with a goalless draw on the road with Cambodian Tiger at the Siem Reap Stadium, while Western Phnom Penh asserted themselves on their home turf, beating the visitors from Takeo, Kirivong Sok Sen Chey, 2-1.
It was the twilight clash between two past winners that raised lively anticipation, and, true to its billing, produced plenty of action at both ends.
The goal that made the vital difference came in the 37th minute from a Kok Borish header off a near-perfect corner kick from Shane Booysen.
The casino-backed Naga had a plenty of chances, but the side was frustrated by their own lack of finesse and Crown’s timely action in the back line, well marshaled by keeper Keo Soksela
It was revealed in a Crown Facebook post that the man of the moment, Kok Boris, had missed most of the week’s training following a head injury and that he had not headed the ball until he sprang up to greet Booysen’s corner.
It had taken an acrobatic effort for Soksela to tip over a Fujiharo Kento header early in the game, but, try as hard as they did, Naga couldn’t get the break through they were looking for.
There was greater sense of purpose in the Naga camp when the game resumed after the break as Crown managed to fend off several goal-threatening moves, the most dramatic being Ouk Sothy pulling off a goal-line save
Naga’s four-goal hero against EDC last week, Kipson worked hard throughout the game yet it was the Rwandan striker who missed the side’s best chance when he hastily volleyed over when perfectly placed moments before full-time.