As reality sinks in after Wednesday evening’s nerve-wracking penalty shootout win over Phnom Penh Crown, Hun Sen Cup holders Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng will be hoping for a less intense route to victory over the Ministry of National Defence in Saturday’s Cup final, which kicks off at 7pm at the Olympic Stadium.
The-three time Cup-winners are already in the record books as the team to have won this coveted trophy more than any in its 10-year history.Extending the team’s hold on the Cup, and nearly $20,000 prize money that comes with it, will be as alluring as it is inspiring for the team.
Svay Rieng owe their semifinal victory to the heroics of goalkeeper Oum Outdom, who made splendid saves with the first two Crown attempts, taking a lot of pressure off his teammates.
The provincial giants will be hoping for another gutsy showing between the sticks from Outdom against a well-drilled Army unit famed for aggression up front and being robust at the back.
Much of Svay Rieng’s attacking plays and set-piece deliveries revolve round Prak Mony Odom, who has often led the team by example. In recent matches, Sam Oeun Pidor, Hoy Phalin, and Sareth Kriya have shown lot of promise in attack.
But the most worrying area for Svay Rieng could be the back-line, which has been strained at times in previous matches. The Army side, which first won the Cup in 2010, were deprived of their second success in 2013 by Naga, who won on penalties. The Army will be desperate to make up for that defeat tomorrow.
International players Chhin Chhoeun, Ke Vannak, Phoung Soksana and Chrerng Polroth are likely to figure in the Army’s attacking formations.
One of the highlights of this year’s 10th edition is the rise of CMAC United, who were responsible for the event’s biggest upset by beating NagaWorld in the quarterfinals.
Though CMAC came up short against the formidable Army in the semis, they have another chance on Saturday to end their campaign on a high. CMAC will square off against Crown in the third place playoff, at 3.30pm, after the two teams drew 0-0 in the league earlier this month.