In a sensational shake-up of the Metfone C-League standings, NagaWorld and Boeung Ket nudged their way to within one point of long-time leaders Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng after the side’s 2-1 defeat at the hands of the casino-backed Naga. Defending champions Boeung Ket routed CMAC 5-0 on the back of Brazilian Maycon Calijuri’s four goals on Saturday.
Heightening the drama, over at the RSN Stadium Ministry of National Defence eked out a 1-0 win over Phnom Penh Crown to occupy fourth spot in the table after the 18th gameweek.
When the game between Naga and Svay Rieng was switched from Olympic Stadium to Old Stadium, it was as if coach Meas Channa’s side had been granted a silent wish. Old Stadium has proved to be a happy hunting ground for Naga this year and that proved to continue as the side beat the visitors for the second time this season.
Brazilian signing Diego Gama provided the first spark, greeting with great dexterity a Cheng Meng corner that had been missed by the Svay Rieng defence.
After the changeover, goalkeeper Samrith Seiha was given a straight red after a poor tackle in the box, but reserve keeper Dara deftly palmed away the resulting penalty.
The visitors managed to get on level terms soon enough but Sos Suhana’s opportunistic strike on the counter-attack ensured Naga the full set of points and a winning double against the frontrunners, having beaten them in the first round as well.
A second defeat in as many weeks means PKR on 37 points are just one point ahead of both Naga and Boeung Ket.
A road trip to Svay Rieng proved highly productive for Boeung Ket as they swamped Cambodian Mine Action Center 5-0 to continue their recent surge.
The seasoned Khun Laboravy opened the scoring in the 11th minute before Calijuri took centre stage. Before the end of the first session, the Brazilian raced to his hat-trick and two minutes before regulation time bagged his fourth.
Adding to the day’s dramatic events, Army did just about enough to come away with all three points against Crown.
After an early miss by Sok Heang, who saw his shot hit the crossbar, North Korean Kim Kyong-hun produced a diving header off a cross from compatriot Ri Hyok-chol to give his side a 20th-minute lead.
Despite going flat out, neither could find the net and Army were more than happy to cling on to their slender lead and push Crown out of the top four bracket.
The top five in the table after gameweek 18 are Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng (37 points), Nagaworld FC (36), Boeung Ket (36), Army (32), Phnom Penh Crown (30).