Going into the make-or-break second leg a goal down, Hun Sen Cup holders Preah Khan Svay Rieng face a day of reckoning on their home pitch when they clash with rivals Ministry of National Defense under lights on Wednesday.
The three other quarterfinal spots in the prestigious Hun Sen Cup are all set to be decided in the capital.
There is no love lost between Svay Rieng and Army, and this rivalry has often produced high intensity drama.
After a well earned Cup triumph last year, the home side are under pressure to make up a one goal deficit as they go in pursuit of a place in the semis against a robust and fearless side like Army.
Saret Krya’s goal just past the hour mark gave Army a distinct edge after the two sides met a week ago, and the 2016 winners will spare no effort to protect that lead.
Svay Rieng’s patchy league form has also made it difficult for the side to effectively work as a cohesive unit, and with their foreign element removed from the line-up for the Cup, the side will have to make adjustments to their formations as they try to contain a side with plenty of firepower at their disposal.
Army are also boosted psychologically after having they brought league leaders Boeung Ket’s unbeaten run to an end two weeks ago.
The plight facing defending league champions Boeung Ket at Olympic Stadium is on paper harder as they take on last year’s beaten finalists NagaWorld, who closed out the first leg 2-0 on the back of goals from Run Rany and Sari Mat Norotin.
Still looking for their maiden Cup triumph, Boeung Ket face the uphill task of overturning a two goal deficit against a side that is combining well in key areas.
Phnom Penh Crown and National Police should have a relatively anxiety-free ride when they line up for their second leg matches against Angkor Tiger and Bati Football Academy, with both taking a 3-0 lead from their opening encounters.
It is highly unlikely that the boys from the Academy will be able to worry an experienced side like National Police, and given the large deficit, Siem Reap-based Angkor Tiger FC will have to produce a near-miracle comeback to progress this year.