Build Bright United’s last-gasp victory on Wednesday has upped the ante for both Phnom Penh Crown and Preah Khan Reach when they cross swords in their last Metfone C-League match Saturday in a game that will determine their own final league standings and Super 4 match-ups.
While only Crown can leapfrog BBU into second spot on goal difference with a victory at the weekend, the three possible outcomes of the fixture can still yield three different permutations of the teams leading into the playoffs. Crown manager Be Makara had hinted last week that “there would be a lot at stake in the last game”, a sentiment now shared by the PKR camp.
A PKR win would seal third place for the military police-backed side and leave Crown in fourth to face league leaders Naga Corp in the playoff semifinals. A draw would allow BBU to retain their current position ahead of Crown, with PKR staying put in fourth.
“[Uche Prince] Justine will be a crucial factor for us in this game, and we are encouraged by the performance the other day of Olisa [Onyemerea],” said the Crown manager, striking an optimistic note that his two nippy Nigerian strikers can deliver the goods.
As the league phase comes to a close, toppers Naga play Wat Phnom, who are facing a very real possibility of relegation. With Chhma Khmao already condemned to the drop, the toss up for the team to join them is between Wat Phnom and Prek Pra Keila.
Prek Pra held Khemara Keila to a draw last week, with the management declaring “that one point will save us from relegation”.
If Wat Phnom were to go down to Naga Saturday, the path would be clear for Prek Pra’s extended lease of life in the top division. Only a Wat Phnom upset can save them from the gallows, and perhaps even the most reckless gambler wouldn’t risk a bet on that. Prek Pra meet Kirivong Sok Sen Chey Sunday, and should provide the season’s leading goal getter Julius Ononiwu a chance to stretch his considerable lead and exit the stage with a pair of golden boots. Ononiwu is currently on 23 goals, seven ahead of his nearest rival, Naga’s Teab Vatanak and Crown’s Uche Prince Justine.