The two Metfone C-League promotees, Western University and Boeung Ket, kicked off their new year on a winning note when the first phase of the 2012 Samdech Hun Sen Cup was unfurled simultaneously in five provincial centres on Saturday.
For obvious reasons, the Eastern front garnered utmost attention and both the university side and the Rubber giants revelled in the spotlight.
Boeung Ket were unforgiving in their 4-0 triumph over Prey Veng. The victory for the Division A1 runners-up last year also provided a winning start for former player Be Makara, making his managerial debut for the club.
Be Makara led Metfone C-League holders Phnom Penh Crown to success in 2010 before taking up an assignment in Thailand, and is now back to the mainstream in Cambodia.
Taking on Svay Rieng’s Chhma Khmao, who this year are comprised of members of Preah Khan Reach’s U19 squad, Division A1 champs Western University came away with a 2-1 victory.
Western and Boeung Ket face off against each this afternoon in Kampong Cham.
Oddar Meanchey frustrated Asia Euro University by holding them to a goal-less draw in the Central zone.
Although the University side muffed open chances, their new goalkeeper Mak Theara, who previously played for former league winners Naga Corp, ensured a clean sheet.
Former Phnom Penh Crown star Chan Rithy played a pivotal role for Baksey Cham Krong, as they did hosts Siem Reap proud by winning 2-1 against Banteay Meanchey.
Kampong Chhnang, more or less a remake of last year’s league bottom-enders Rithy Sen, survived some anxious moments before posting a 2-1 victory over Battambang to boost their chances of qualification from the Western pool.
In a battle between two coastal towns from the South, Koh Kong took Kampot in their stride 2-0.
Stung Treng struck twice against Kratie to earn a full set of points even as the North saw Mondulkiri pull out of the tournament, reducing the group to just three teams.
Kampong Cham Centre
- Kandal v Prey Veng – 2pm
- Western University v
- Boeung Ket Rubber Field 4pm
Siem Reap Centre
- Oddar Meanchey v University of Management and Economics 2pm
- Baksey Chamkrong v Asia Europe University – 4pm Kratie Centre
- Mekong Kampuchea University v Stung Treng – 3:30pm Kampong Chhnang Centre
- Battambang v Pailin – 3:30pm Koh Kong Centre
- Kampot v Kep – 3:30pm