The eagerly awaited first Metfone C-League goal from Chan Vathanaka after his return to Boeung Ket could not have come at a better time as his 72nd minute header gave the league leaders a 1-0 win over National Police at Olympic Stadium on Saturday.
The nippy winger did turn in a spot-kick for the defending champs in their Hun Sen Cup campaign midweek, but the focal point was how well CV11, as he is known to his fans, would stamp his mark on the league two weeks into the second phase of the season.
In the end an unexpectedly defiant Police, who stood their ground firmly for well over an hour, finally fell to a piece of opportunism by Vathanaka, who helped his side stay ahead at the top of the standings.
Away at Old Stadium, Ministry of National Defense ran out 3-1 winners over Asia Europe United, but the losers left the ground bitterly disappointed over some of the decisions the referee ruled against them at crucial moments of the game.
Having led through Mbarga Privat’s 11th minute penalty, AEU dourly hung on to their narrow lead until well past the hour when the Armymen began to claw their way back into the game.
It began with South Korean Yoo Jae-so’s 62nd minute goal, which was doubled by Japanese import Yudai Ogawa.
And having found momentum, Army killed off the game with Kan Pisal’s goal four minutes into stoppage time.
If Western Phnom Penh had travelled to Siem Reap praying for a first victory then their invocations went unaswered. But the bottom side were spared another heavy defeat, with Soltilo Angkor being relatively kind and only inflicting a 3-0 loss as the capital outfit went down to a fourteenth straight defeat.
The consistent Dzarma Bata bagged a brace, which sandwiched Keo Sophal’s 39th-minute goal.