Phnom Penh Crown ensured another week on top of the Metfone C-League heap with a comfortable 3-1 defeat of Build Bright United yesterday at the Olympic Stadium.
Nigerian hitman George Bisan continued his rich vein of form in front of goal with a sublime hat-trick to take his tally to 16 for the season.
The 22-year-old scored in the 22nd and 40th minute to put BBU on the ropes. A Rieng Bunheang penalty on 78 minutes pulled one back for the University-backed side, but Bisan had the last say moments later with his third goal of the game.
Crown moved to 37 points, two clear of second placed Boeung Ket Rubber Field, who worked out a tidy 2-0 win over fellow title chasers Naga Corp at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday.
The Chan Vathanaka touch worked again for the 2013 runners-up Boeung Ket while Naga Corp’s misery was compounded by an own goal on the top of a few frontline players being kept out due to injury.
The much anticipated clash between two big guns in domestic football produced transient phases of entertainment before Teat Chandarasokha’s self-destructing own goal in the 39th minute ensured an anticlimax of sorts after Chan Vathanaka had booted home the opening goal seven minutes earlier.
Saturday’s second fixture was a six-goal thriller between Ministry of National Defence and Asia Europe University, where both teams shared the points with a 3-3 draw.
Midfielder Ung Tara’s first half brace for MND kept the Armymen buoyant. If the side presumed that the cushion was good enough to hold out they were in for a shock. With 10 minutes of the 90 remaining, AEU found themselves stepping out of the shadows and into the light of hope.
It began with Cameroonian Ngwa Baldwin Afa’nwi pulling one back for AEU in the 82nd minute only to see MND substitute Oub Kamol stretch the lead to 3-1 four minutes later.
The University side were not quite done yet as Afa’nwi reduced the margin again a minute into injury time and Than Darapich proved a super substitute by beating the final whistle with an equalising strike.
Svay Rieng slump
Defending champions Svay Rieng slumped to a 3-2 defeat against TriAsia after leading twice at the Old Stadium on Saturday, their second reverse in a matter of days following a midweek beating by Boeung Ket.
To compound matters, a letter from the club sent to the Football Federation of Cambodia last Thursday confirmed that head coach Sam Vandeth had stepped down from his post citing failure not just in the MCL, but also in the 2014 Hun Sen Cup, AFC President’s Cup and RHB Singapore Cup.
With their league title defence in total disarray, Svay Rieng have slipped down the ladder dramatically. But TriAsia showed remarkable gumption to get back into the match after falling behind more than once.
Midfielder Nop Tola gave Svay Rieng an upper hand in the 19th minute but that joy would last less than two minutes as Soung Virak neutralised the lead.
Before heading to the half time break, Svay Rieng found themselves in front again when Nen Sothereath found the mark, but after a somewhat relaxed interval, the defending champions were soon in big trouble quite literally in a matter of one minute.
Kuoch Dany came to TriAsia’s rescue in the 55th minute to level the scores and Nwakuna Friday nailed the side’s third goal and the eventual match winner moments later, almost sealing Svay Rieng’s fate then and there.
Respite for Western
Western University climbed out of the red zone for the first time in weeks with a 3-0 victory over Kirivong Sok Sen Chey, who are now forced to fight the demotion demons. At this stage of the competition it is strictly a two-way tussle between Western and Kirivong for survival in the Premier League since Albirex Niigata seem almost certain to drop down.
Western were a point behind Kirivong in this dubious race going into Saturday’s contest at the end of which the University side found themselves two points ahead.
Interestingly, the worst may not yet be over for both sides. Unless there are some tragic slip ups from the middle of the table, these two teams will have to keep a close eye on each other.
After an unproductive first half, Western took charge when Privat Mbarga produced a 59th minute lead and went on to double his contribution 20 minutes later. Armed with that 2-0 lead, Western put the game beyond the visitors from Takeo when Ly Sarath added one more to the tally in the 83rd minute.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CHENG SERYRITH & DAN RILEY