Life in the top tier of Cambodian league football began on a triumphant note for Visakha FC at Western Stadium on Sunday.
However, the 4-0 win over Electricite du Cambodge came at a huge cost for the newly promoted side after losing two players to red cards in the final moments of the game.
Captain Tieng Tiny, who fired the first salvo in the 12th minute, picked up his second yellow card in the 87th minute to be ordered off the pitch, while fellow defender Men Seyha saw red during injury time for a dangerous tackle on EdC forward Soch Ratha.
But for these blemishes towards the end, the Metfone C-League debut for Visakha was the brightest they could have hoped for.
The club’s management caused a stir when they signed all four North Korean players who figured in the Ministry of National Defense line-up last season.
That move looks to have been a shrewd one, with the prolific Choe Myong-ho bagging a brace, his first coming in the 29th minute, followed by a penalty conversion midway through the second half.
Pov Phearith completed the tally for Visakha in the 83rd minute as EdC, who took third place in the Hun Sen Cup last year, struggled to make an impression.
Naga-Svay Rieng stalemate
In what was a repeat of last December’s Hun Sen Cup final, Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng squared off against NagaWorld at the RSN Stadium to open their 2018 MCL campaigns on Sunday with the fight for domestic honours already very much on their minds.
While Naga were looking for retribution for their 3-0 Cup loss, the visitors from Svay Rieng were equally making a statement of intent in the defence of their crown.
In a hard fought battle, neither side could find the net as they took away a point each from the goalless draw.
Launching their campaign for a maiden MCL success after their heartbreaking loss on penalties to Boeung Ket in last season’s grand final, National Defense Ministry hit the road to Siem Reap for a tilt at Angkor Tiger and came away with a 1-0 victory.
The goal that separated the two sides was scored by Naga Japanese import Udai Ogawa in the 73rd minute.
On their official Facebook page, Angkor Tiger claimed the match was witnessed by a club record 2,496 spectators.