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Svay Rieng down Army to pull ahead at top

Naga’s George Kelechi and Boeung Ket’s Sun Sovannarith vie for the ball on Saturday.
Naga’s George Kelechi and Boeung Ket’s Sun Sovannarith vie for the ball on Saturday. Sreng Meng Srun

Svay Rieng down Army to pull ahead at top

Exploiting home advantage, leaders Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng got the measure of rivals Ministry of National Defence 3-2 in the Metfone C-League’s top-of-the-table clash as the season heads for the August break ahead of the SEA Games in Malaysia.

In a span of just three minutes past the half-hour mark, Svay Rieng fought back from a goal down and into a 2-1 lead before the break, before further consolidating their position in the second half.

Army pulled one back in injury time to polish the scoreline through North Korean striker Ri Hyok-chol, who earlier struck the first goal.

Without star Cambodia international midfielder Prak Mony Odom, Svay Rieng had held their own until Army scored. Unfazed, Svay Rieng responded quickly, equalising within a minute via a penalty from Nub Tola and then hitting the front moments later when Cambodia’s match-winner against the Philippines in the U23 Championship qualifiers last week, Sok Samnang, got the go-ahead goal.

With the tide turned their way, Svay Rieng cushioned the lead early in the second session when Chigozie Prinwill netted from close quarters to see national keeper Om Sereyrath beaten for a third time on a pleasing evening for the home fans.

The victory took Svay Rieng to 31 points at the top of the standings, four clear of Army, who are just one point ahead of NagaWorld after the casino-backed side drew 1-1 with Boeung Ket at Olympic Stadium.

Two penalties at the end of each half produced the two goals that tied Boeung Ket and NagaWorld.

While Naga enjoyed better of the exchanges in the first half, it was Boeung Ket who took the lead, Brazilian Maicon Calijuri converting a penalty following a foul by Anderson Zogbe.

It was a hard chase for Naga as Boeung Ket threatened another goal. However, Naga were awarded a penalty when Sary Matnortin was pushed from behind in the box by a Boeung Ket defender, and Atuheire Kipson, the season’s top scorer, made no mistake.

Both Naga and Boeung Ket travel to Singapore for the RHB Singapore Cup quarterfinals. Boeung Ket take on Global FC from the Philippines on August 8, while Naga will face Hougang United on August 11.

In other MCL matches, Cambodian Tiger were too good for visiting Kirivong Sok Sen Chey in Siem Reap, winning 4-0, while Western Phnom Penh beat Cambodian Mine Action Center 2-1 at home.

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