MND’s Phoung Soksana (L) and Police’s Ly Arifin clash during their MCL match at Olympic Stadium on January 12, 2013. Photograph: Sreng Meng Srun/Phnom Penh Post
The seventh Samdech Hun Sen Cup enters its knockout phase today with four quarter-finals at two venues.
In the 2pm kick-off at Olympic Stadium, 2010 winners Ministry of National Defence face arch-rivals National Police Commissary in a rematch of their January 12 Metfone C-League meeting, which saw the Army team stage a walk off after 75 minutes following a controversial goal scored against them. The game was recorded as a 5-0 win for Police.
“If the match officials are going to make fair decisions, I think there will be no problem in defeating our opponents,” MND coach Op Sam Art told the Post yesterday.
The 4pm game at Olympic Stadium pits Build Bright United, who were the only side to win all three of their group matches, against Naga Corp, who were tipped as one of the favourites to lift the title but suffered an embarrassing loss to Chamkarmon in the last round.
The crowd at Old Stadium will see Group C toppers Boeung Ket Rubber Field take on two-time Cup winners Phnom Penh Crown at 2pm.
Kampong Cham-based Boeung Ket are considered favourites to complete a league and Cup, having ripped through Kirivong on Tuesday with an almost exclusively second string line-up.
Crown, in comparison, had to fight until the last minute to secure a vital win over holders Preah Khan Reach.
“With the Hun Sen Cup and MCL games being scheduled close together, the teams didn’t have a lot of recovery time between the games.
“We lost Keo Sokngorn and Sok Sovann [to injury] because of this. This might cause trouble for us,” Boeung Ket general manager Be Makara said.
The day’s only clash between two provincial sides, Preah Vihear’s Asia-Europe University and Takeo’s Kirivong Sok Sen Chey, gets under way at 4pm at Old Stadium.
AEU created the biggest surprise of the group stage, with the MCL newcomers ending up in first place in Group D having beaten PKR 2-0 in a result that paved the way for defending champions’ early elimination from the tournament.
It remains to be seen if they can follow up their promising start in this year’s competition with an advance to the semi-finals.