If Svay Rieng giants Preah Khan Reach were looking for a confidence boost ahead of their Hun Sen Cup semifinal clash against Phnom Penh Crown on Wednesday, the side can consider that achieved. The visitors produced a strong second-half finish to down a spirited Cambodian Tiger FC 4-3 in their Metfone C-League tie at the Olympic Stadium on Sunday.
In a game full of thrust and parry, the teams went into the break 2-2, but Svay Rieng raised the tempo in the second half to break into a 4-2 lead before the Tigers pulled one back late on.
The Tigers were caught unawares when Sam Oeun Pidor ran down the middle of the pitch and lobbed the Tiger keeper to give Svay Rieng a seventh-minute advantage. But the Tigers recovered to equalise within 10 minutes through Masakazu Kihara.
Svay Rieng wrested the initiative back moments later cortesy of Prak Mony Odom, but Kihara’s fellow Japanese Tomoki Muramutsu brought the Tigers level at the stroke of half-time.
Midfielder Sok Samnang hauled Svay Rieng in front in the 55th minute, with Prak Mony Odom stretching the lead in the 70th minute with a penalty.
With the game slipping out of sight, the Tigers mounted several counters, one of which resulted in a successful spot kick from Muramutsu. But by then it was too little too late.
The win moved Svay Rieng to third on 22 points behind Boeung Ket Angkor (30) and Ministry of National Defence (27). Nagaworld (20) and Phnom Penh Crown (18) occupy fourth and fifth at the end of 11 matches.
The fifth loss for the Tigers meant a slide down the table to sixth place on 14 points.
Later in the evening, CMAC’s Hun Sen Cup hero Hong Makara, who nailed the late match winner against NagaWorld last week, was once again the side’s man of the moment. His 62nd-minute goal helped CMAC draw level 1-1 with Asia Europe United, who had grabbed a third-minute lead through Takano Marin.
While the draw pegged CMAC to seventh in the standings on eight points, AEU in eighth managed to stay above the relegation spots held by National Police and Western Phnom Penh.