The afternoon clash between Asia Europe University and Build Bright United in the Metfone C-League ended in a 1-1 draw at the Olympic Stadium yesterday.
The Hun Sen Cup runners-up nosed ahead in the 28th minute when Yusuke Yamagata scored. But AEU bounced back through George Kelechi in the first half added time.
Even as Naga Corp’s title hopes took another beating following their 1-1 draw with TriAsia at the Old Stadium on Saturday, the league’s top two, Phnom Penh Crown and Boeung Ket Rubber Field, posted comfortable wins away at the Olympic Stadium to ensure that the race is solely between the past champions.
Former national team player Nuth Sinoun, who proudly carries many distinguished battle scars for multiple teams in domestic football, ruined Naga’s winning effort with a 79th minute leveler for TriAsia after Chim Sambo had given the 2009 champs a 42nd minute lead.
Crown, winners of the top tier in 2010 and 2011, tightened their hold with a 4-2 win over bottom-of-the-table Albirex Niigata to maintain their five-point cushion after the completion of 17 games.
While the Crown superiority was never seriously tested, the margin did come as a surprise as the first foreign franchise earned a few more admirers for their performance.
Crown’s foreign component stood tall. South Korean Kim Jeongho gave the side a 31st minute lead, Australian Adriano Pellegrino doubled it up and the ever-reliable Khim Borey chipped in the third. Not to be left behind, George Bisan hammered home the fourth. For Albirex, Yusuke Ueda got one just before half time and past the hour Kheng Sophana ticked the side’s second goal.
Crown’s nearest rivals Boeung Ket got home 3-2 against Western University after responding to a sixth minute Ly Saroth goal with three strikes of their own.
The local trio of Khuon Laboravy, Keo Sokpheng and Chan Vathanaka were on target for the Kampong Cham-based outfit, while Western reduced the margin through substitute Chan Vannak.
In a flutter of sorts the struggling Kirivong Sok Sen Chey, who are fighting a battle of survival with Western, raised many eyebrows when they beat the Ministry of National Defence 3-0.
A double by Savor Ratanakvisa featured Kirivong’s third win after 10 defeats and four draws. The victory may have given them a new life line.