Phnom Penh Crown FC returned to winning ways in the highlight of the weekend’s Metfone C-League action, claiming a narrow 1-0 victory in their clash against recently dethroned league leaders Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng FC.
Crown, the back-to back defending league champions, had suffered a painful defeat to rivals Boeung Ket Angkor FC in their encounter the previous weekend, a result which left the six-time champs wallowing in sixth place in the standings.
They went into their seventh league game on Friday eager to get their campaign back on track against the reigning Hun Sen Cup holders and it took an inspired headed effort late in the game from much-maligned substitute George Kelechi Stanley to gift Crown a vital win in front of the 2,500 fans at Crown’s own RSN Stadium.
Kelechi has had a difficult start to his Crown career and has so far been unable to replicate his free-scoring antics which earned him a close-season transfer to the champions. Crown fans will hope this latest goal can spur the African on to repeat the heroics of his 2015 season with AEU.
“Sometimes you need a bit of luck. Last week I felt we were unlucky to lose 1-0 and I felt our season got a kick.” said head coach Sam Schweingruber speaking after the game. “Today, we will take this result as an encouragement, a signal that our season is not over, and if we work really hard and keep pushing, there’s a chance for us to have a say at the season’s end. Still a lot of work for us to do.”
“This is not how I want us to play, we must perform better but at times you also need performances where with some luck and a battling spirit, you get a win that is very encouraging.” He added.
Meanwhile in Saturday’s afternoon league action at Army Stadium, Ministry of National Defense FC’s North Korean contingent ensured they would complete gameweek 7 at the top of the standings scoring both goals in a slim 2-1 win over battling bottom-club Asia Europe United FC.
Kim Kyong-hun put the league leaders ahead in the 16th minute, before Army’s on-fire striker Choe-Myong-ho continued his goalscoring exploits with a strike on the hour. Seung Sopanha pulled a goal back for the visitors in the 75th but the Army side were able to hang on to claim all three points and hand AEU a fifth league defeat and rooted to the bottom of the standings.
In Saturday’s evening clash at the National Olympic Stadium, CMAC FC grabbed only their second win of the season as they defeated fellow stragglers Western FC 4-2.
Cambodian Tiger’s Om Thavirak offered a Jekyll and Hyde performance in Sunday’s evening clash against NagaWorld FC at the National Olympic Stadium, first committing the foul which led to NagaWorld’s opener from the resulting penalty and later nabbing a late equaliser to restore parity.
A tight first period had been punctuated by a succession of dangerous chances which fell to ex-Tiger frontman Privat Mbarga, although all were squandered by the Cameroonian on an uncharacteristic off-day in front of goal.
A reckless challenge mere steps inside the box from Tiger’s Thavirak saw Naga awarded a penalty from which Park Yong-jun could make no mistake – rifling home the game’s opening goal. Thavirak however, redeemed himself at the death smashing the equaliser after his teammates corner into the box caused confusion in the Naga box.
Earlier that afternoon, Boeung Ket Angkor FC came from behind to thump National Police Commissary FC with Cambodian national team striker Khuon Laboravy answering critics by netting four goals in their 7-1 victory. Chan Vathanaka, the 2015 C-League Top Scorer, snatched a brace while Dzarma Bata, the 2014 C-League top scorer and a close-season signing from rivals Preah Khan Svay Rieng FC, was also on the scoresheet in an emphatic win for Prak Sovannara’s men.