Newcomers they may well be to the Metfone C-League this season, but TriAsia have already acquired a reputation as a tough side to dislodge.
So for 2009 champions NagaCorp, whose five-match form hasn’t exactly been glowing, may face a stern test of strength when they meet TriAsia in this weekend’s standout fixture at the Old Stadium tomorrow.
With that well deserved victory last week over National Police Commissary spurring them on, TriAsia are eager to use that momentum to their advantage against a side that is loaded with quality players yet to blend to the levels coach Prak Sovannara would have wished for.
Though Naga’s victory over table trailers Albirex Niigata was never in doubt, the side appeared to labour harder than they should have given the standard of the opposition.
TriAsia coach Daisuke Yoshioka, meanwhile, believes their quality lies in their depth of squad.
“TriAsia Phnom Penh FC have become a team in which any player can play [in the starting line up]. We will fight [Naga] with all 38 players and eight staff,” he said in an interview posted on their official facebook fanpage.
Fresh from their upset win over defending champions Svay Rieng, Ministry of National Defence come up against Kirivong Sok Sen Chey in tomorrow’s opening game at the same venue.
Meanwhile at the Olympic Stadium, Build Bright United, who enjoyed some respite in the form of a good win over Western University after two crushing blows, take on Asia Europe University.
Reduced to 10 men for the best part of the match, Phnom Penh Crown suffered a reverse at the hands of Boeung Ket Rubber Field last week after defender Odion Obadin picked up a second yellow card. Despite the shortage of manpower for almost an hour, Crown did put up a very tough fight.
The former champions, who currently lead the table by a superior goal difference, should have a relatively easy time against Albirex Niigata tomorrow night.
Last year’s runners-up Boeung Ket are bound to take a lot of positives from their 3-1 win over Crown into their Olympic Stadium clash with Western University on Sunday.
One of the most pleasing aspects of that victory was the combination play involving Dutchman Elroy van der Hooft and national team stars Chan Vathanaka and Khoun Laboravy.
“We can see the potential of linking up Chan Vathanaka and Khoun Laboravy. They can move their positions well, so they can attack on separate sides rather than just down the middle of pitch,” coach Prak Vuthy told the Post.
“It’s my decision to let them work together, with the thought that they will be the focus of our attack on our rivals.”
Western coach Meas Sam Oeun noted they would be changing their tactics when facing the Kampong Cham heavyweights.
“[We will] strengthen our defence and when attacking the opposition, we will make sure to track back quickly too. Moreover, we will be trying to stop Boeung Ket spreading the ball to the flanks where they have speedy wingers,” he said.
The late evening encounter between Svay Rieng and National Police could turn out to be a high intensity affair. Both sides are licking their wounds after losing their previous outings and will be anxious to leave the pitch with all three points in the bag.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CHENG SERYRITH
Saturday March 1
At Old Stadium
MND v Kirivong Sok Sen Chey – 1:30pm
TriAsia PP v NagaCorp – 3:45pm
At Olympic Stadium
AEU v BBU – 3:30pm
Albirex Niigata v Phnom Penh Crown – 6pm
Sunday March 2
At Olympic Stadium
Western University v Boeung Ket 3:30pm
Svay Rieng v National Police 6pm