With just one point separating them, NagaWorld and Boeung Ket meet for a top of the table clash at Olympic Stadium on Sunday evening, with both sides bent on ending the first phase of the Metfone C-League season on a positive note.
The leaders will be going all out to take three points in the 6.30pm kick-off to secure a clear lead at the top.
The 10-goal bounty shared between Bisan George and Mathew Osa as Naga thumped Western Phnom Penh last week may not mean much when put in the context of the quality of opposition, but carries weight when it comes to momentum and locker-room spirit.
Naga’s only blemish so far this season was their below-par show against surprise package Visakha, who have already ruffled some illustrious feathers in their first season, including in last week’s impressive 1-1 draw with Boeung Ket.
The defending champions eventually managed to keep their unbeaten record in tact, thanks to Julius Oiboh’s 77th-minute goal that equalised a Visakha lead that loomed threateningly for over an hour.
Army set for Police clash
While Boeung Ket may well look at their rescued point against Visakha as a positive, the camp will be aware of the tough challenge awaiting on Sunday.
Retaining the lead at the top of the standings going into the second round of matches would give Naga a big psychological boost going into the second phase, and nothing would please Naga coach Meas Channa more than bringing an end to Boeung Ket’s unbeaten record.
In Sunday’s other matches, Ministry of National Defense will clash with Commissary of National Police, while AEU, who are thriving on Privat Mbarga’s goals, take on Electricite du Cambodge.
All eyes will be on third-placed Visakha as they tackle Siem Reap-based fellow top-flight newcomers Soltilo Angkor. Phnom Penh Crown, who have been pushed down the table to eighth, square off against Angkor Tiger.
With on and off the field events adversely impacting the performance of Hun Sen Cup winners Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng, the side will be hosting bottom-side Western Phnom Penh, battered and bruised after that 10-1 mauling at the hands of Naga last weekend, at Svay Rieng Stadium.