Reigning Metfone C-League champions Svay Rieng have left themselves a mountain to climb to advance to the finals stage of the 2014 AFC President’s Cup after being humbled 6-3 by Nepalese club Manang Marshyangdi Club in their Group C opener at the MFF Football Centre in the Mongolian capital Ulan Bator last night.
The 2013 Nepal A-Division winners opened the scoring after just six minutes through striker Dipak Rai.
Svay Rieng then compounded things minutes later with an own goal from defender Moul Daravorn.
Manang seized the momentum with a third on 24 minutes by defender Azeez Saheed.
Soun Veasna pulled one back for the Cambodians before the break and teammate Nub Tola added another after play resumed.
But the Nepalese were in no mood to surrender their advantage and netted two more via Dipak Rai and midfielder Sulav Maskey.
Substitute Nirajan Malla put the game beyond doubt in the 83rd minute, before Nub Tola snatched a late consolation in the dying moments.
Svay Rieng will now need a positive result from their remaining group match against Mongolian host side Erchim, which kicks off at 2pm Cambodian time tomorrow, to ensure they progress to the next phase of the competition, slated for September 22-28.
Svay Rieng’s Cup trip has forced the rescheduling of their Metfone Cambodian League clash with current leaders Phnom Penh Crown, who made it all the way to the final of the annual Asian club competition in 2011. The Cambodian heavyweights will instead face off in a midweek fixture on May 21.
Self-destruction was the name of the game for Boeung Ket Rubber Field when they conceded an own goal last week to help a staggering Kirivong Sok Sen Chey to their first win this league season.
The 2012 champions, who finished runners-up to Svay Rieng last year, will be hoping to turn that chaos into clockwork when they face a resurgent Build Bright United in this weekend’s standout fixture at the Olympic Stadium on Sunday.
As their recent performances indicate, BBU is hopping around with great confidence and have given some of the heavyweights a fright or two in the last few weeks. If Boeung Ket are looking to turn that Kirivong setback around, they will have to bring out their best to overrun BBU, who it is safe to assume will not go down without a fight.
In the late evening encounter, NagaCorp, who are level on points with Phnom Penh Crown at the top of the table, should be on the lookout for a full set of points against Western University, given their relative strengths and surface form.
Kirivong and Albirex Niigata open tomorrow’s action at the Old Stadium. The sides will be looking to seize this chance to bolster their morale since they are both at the wrong end of the table.
Some form watchers may have been taken by surprise last week when Asia Europe University got the measure of TriAsia Phnom Penh. But the underlying truth is that few teams fight as hard as the University lads, which explains away some of their good results against decidedly stronger opposition.
In tomorrow’s second fixture at the Old Stadium, AEU will be pitting its strengths against National Police Commissary, who had to dig deep into their reserves to get the better of Western last week in a game that produced no less than seven goals. Tomorrow’s clash could easily turn itself into a nip-and-tip affair.
Another fascinating story line could emerge from tomorrow’s only outing at the Olympic Stadium between Ministry of National Defence and TriAsia.
Saturday May 3
At Old Stadium
Kirivong v Albirex – 1:30pm
National Police v AEU – 3:45pm
At Olympic Stadium
MND v TriAsia – 3:30pm
Sunday May 4
At Olympic Stadium
BBU v Boeung Ket – 3:30pm
Naga Corp v Western Uni – 6pm