Naga Corp’s comfortable 3-1 victory over tail-enders Western University triggered a midweek shake-up in the Metfone C League Standing at the Olympic Stadium.
Though the score-line makes an impressive reading, it conceals the former champions’ pronounced struggle in the first half during which the un-heralded Western managed to hold their illustrious rivals safe 1-1.
Two quick fire goals, including a penalty, late in the second half brought the look of authenticity to Naga’s ninth victory in 14 outings, pushing their points tally to 30.
From their third position overnight, Naga leapt clear of table topping National Police on better goal difference with the added advantage of a game in hand, pushing back Preah Khan Reach a notch below with 29 points.
Naga takes on another back bencher Chhalam Samut next on August 4.
The 2009 Champs got off to a confident start when the in-form Sun Sovanarithy found the mark as early as the seventh minute. If Naga were expecting a walk in the park after this early success, they were in for a rude shock.
It was the underdogs who began to assert themselves and after missing a couple of chances to equalise in open play, the University side found a saviour in Wovo Maxwell, whose timely intervention in a Naga box frenzy led to the equaliser.
After Western managed to guard their box well against some forceful thrusts came a break of sorts for Naga in the 75th minute when an advancing Teab Vattanac was brought down in the area, resulting in a penalty. Sovanarithy stepped into convert the spot kick and complete a pricey double.
Within minutes of this notable change came another Naga success. This time Substitute Chhim Sambo, the hero of Naga’s dramatic 4-3 victory over PKR last week, forced himself into the score-sheet with an opportunistic strike.
Western’s tally remains at seven points from 15 games.
To contact the reporter on this story: H S Manjunath at [email protected]