The remaining places in tomorrow’s quarterfinals of the 2012 Samdech Hun Sen Cup were filled yesterday by Metfone C-League sides as expected. However, as National Police Commissary, Preah Khan Reach and Build Bright United sealed their advances with comprehensive routs over provincial opponents, Metfone C-League champions Phnom Penh Crown lab-oured to a 1-0 victory over newly promoted Boeung Kat Rubber Field.
The Kampong Cham team stood up admirably to the Phnom Penh heavyweights and gave fans a clear indication that they are ready to take on all-comers in the upcoming league season, which begins in April.
Led by the enigmatic Be Makara, who had captured both the Hun Sen Cup and the league title twice as manager of Crown, they managed to contain Crown captain fantastic and frontman Kouch Sokumpheak for the entire first half by double-teaming him with Touch Panhcharong and Khieu Vibol.
At half-time, Crown coach David Booth of England made the inspired tactical move to push Sokumpheak back into midfield, and it paid rich rewards in the 67th minute as the national team star skipped past Panhcharong to smash an unstoppable drive past Boeung Kat keeper Soeun Pisal in what proved to be the winning goal.
Boeung Kat’s Keo Sokngorn, who netted a dazzling dozen on Saturday against Kratie, was giving everything he could to unlock the defence of his former team, but former team-mate and defender Tieng Tiny was wise to his ploys and thwarted his efforts.
In the closing stages, Crown threw all their men behind the ball to hold onto their slender lead.
The door was left wide open for National Police to grab top spot in Group D in the later kickoff, and they seized the opportunity in emphatic fashion with a 22-0 obliteration of hapless Kratie.
The travelling side were sent home with a woeful record of 55 goals conceded in three games, with a solitary, but presumably memorable, consolation goal from their city campaign.
Over at Olympic Stadium, Cup holders Preah Khan Reach clinched first place in Group C with a 13-1 stuffing of Stung Treng. Hotshot striker Khoun Laboravy notched up 11 goals, exactly half the total that won him the tournament’s Golden Boot award last year.
In the evening game, last year’s runners-up Build Bright United cut down Koh Kong 8-2 to claim runners-up from the group.
They now face National Police in tomorrow’s quarterfinals, while Crown and PKR will face off in the pick of the last-eight fixtures.