Nagaworld and Boeung Ket Angkor won their penultimate round matches on Sunday to be as close as one point behind leaders Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng as the Metfone C League season enters the knockout stage after a final round of round robin games next week.
With semifinal places sealed, both Naga and Boeung Ket were under no apparent pressure. However, both had to heed some early warnings before powering their way to comfortable wins. Naga outplayed Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) 5-1 while Boeung Ket overcame Cambodian Tiger 3-1.
Coach Meas Channa opted to rest some key players and that scheme of his was put to serious test when CMAC shot into an unexpectedly bold lead early on.
But relegation certainty CMAC quickly had a taste of Naga’s firepower. Season’s leading scorer Authiere Kipson turned in a penalty and a headed goal from Brazilian Diego Gama saw Naga take a 2-1 lead to the breather.
Goals from Sos Suhana, Kipson and Kelechi in the second half boosted Naga scoreline to 5-1. The casino-backed side, looking for third championship success and first since 2009, head to Siem Reap to face the Cambodian Tiger in their last league fixture.
The top five in the standings after game week 21 are: Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng with 46 points, Naga and Boeung Ket at 45 each, Ministry of National Defense holding 42 and Phnom Penh Crown at 39.