Few teams in the Metfone C-League can do a better job of it than Phnom Penh Crown when it comes to rubbing salt into a wound as defending champions Boeung Ket Rubber Field painfully realised in their 3-1 defeat at Olympic Stadium on Saturday.
Stretched like elastic to its breaking point in the last few weeks, Boeung Ket snapped yet again under the crushing weight of Crown’s solid performance, going down to their third defeat in a row following an inglorious 1-1 draw against second from the bottom Asia Europe University.
After their 10-win run in the first half of the league season, the second phase has been nothing less than traumatic for Boeung Ket. An own goal sealed their fate against Build Bright United, Kirivong Sok Sen Chey bounced back from 3-5 down to a 7-5 win and now Crown avenged their first round loss by a strikingly similar scoreline.
Crown’s Dutch striker Ellroy Van der Hooft let the power of his right foot be marked by his rivals when he struck an 18th minute goal and captain Khim Borey doubled the lead in the 39th through a neat header off a Bin Thierry flagkick, as the side went into the break 2-0 with victory in sight.
Adding to Boeung Ket’s misery was a second yellow card for Chukwuma Ohuruogu in the 66th minute. Reduced to 10 men, Boeung Ket to their horror found Crown giving nothing away.
Adding to their frustration on the pitch was the woodwork coming in the way of a few promising attempts. Twice Chan Vathanaka drove into the post, and his midfield partner Degule Momoh suffered the same fate.
Boeung Ket, however, found some elbow room when Sok Pheng headed home a Chan Vathanaka cross to reduce the margin. Not to be outdone, Crown tightened their hold on the game when Khim Borey made the most of a rebound off Van der Hooft’s first attempt to complete his well deserved double.
In Saturday’s second fixture, Naga Corp stoutly defended Sun Sovanarithy’s 18th minute goal to down Kirivong Sok Sen Chey 1-0.
Meanwhile, a resurgent Ministry of National Defence put it across Svay Rieng 2-1 at the Old Stadium. The Army men have obviously found a second wind after a somewhat patchy performance in the first half of the season, when they were deep down the standings.
Pov Phearith gave MND a sound start when he scored in the 27th minute. Svay Rieng drew level through Hoy Phallin 10 minutes into the second session, but the Army reasserted themselves through Op Kamok’s eventual match winner in the 71st minute.
In yesterday’s clash of the bottom-enders, Asia Europe University edged Senate Secretariat 1-0 thanks to a solitary strike from veteran hitman Nuth Sinoun. The result meant the struggling Senate side, who have mustered just a single point all season, will not be able to escape the relegation zone by the end of the season and will play Division A1 football next year.
In yesterday’s late kick-off, BBU maintained their recent hot streak with a 2-1 victory over National Police Commissary. Japanese signing An Jinyan got on the scoresheet after just five minutes to put the University-backed team ahead, but two minutes later Police’s Prum Puthsethy netted an equaliser.
BBU’s Chan Chhaya then grabbed back the lead moments before the interval with a goalless second half confirming the Police’s fate.
The league table has been given a bit of a shake up after the weekend’s quota of surprises. Boeung Ket continue to lead, ahead of Svay Rieng but both Crown and Naga are closing in.