Instead of catching up with the defending champions, Phnom Penh Crown football club fell farther in the standings after a surprise loss to Boeung Ket FC on Sunday.
Before last weekend’s matches, Phnom Penh Crown FC was just a point behind tournament leader Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng FC.
A win by Phnom Penh Crown and a loss on the part of PKR Svay Rieng FC would have seen the Phnom Penh-based team back on the driver’ seat. A draw for PKR Svay Rieng FC, meanwhile, would see both teams tied atop the standings.
Phnom Penh Crown FC topped the standings early on, before being overtaken by PKR Svay Rieng FC. The Svay Rieng-based team has occupied the top spot since then.
The consensus among football observers is that Phnom Penh Crown FC will tie or even overtake PKR Svay Rieng FC after the weekend.
Instead, the opposite happened as Boeung Ket FC got in the way, scoring a 3-1 win during their game at the Cambodia Airways Stadium in Phnom Penh.
PKR Svay Rieng FC, meanwhile, scored a surprise 2-0 win against Angkor Tiger FC on Saturday to solidify their position atop the standings with 22 points.
Boeung Ket FC were coming off a win over Tiffy Army FC last weekend. Brazilian forward Franc Santana Paiva was the ‘hero’ of that match after he scored a hat-trick.
This time around, Cambodian striker Mat Noron was the biggest thorn for Phnom Penh Crown FC.
Mat combined with Cambodian forward Sieng Chanthea to deliver a blow against Phnom Penh Crown FC barely six minutes into the game.
After receiving a pass from Cambodian defender Sath Rosib on the left wing, Sieng Chanthea slotted a cross to Mat, who proceeded to score while being marked by Cambodian defender Yue Safy and Cambodian forward Yeu Muslim.
However, the Boeung Ket FC lead was only temporary. After a few near misses early on, including two attempts by Nigerian forward Okereke Timothy and Nigerian midfielder Esoh Paul Omogba, Phnom Penh Crown FC finally tied the score in the 42nd minute.
Cambodian midfielder Brak Thyva took possession of the ball off a scramble and launched a shot that hit the back of the net.
Phnom Penh Crown FC would have pulled ahead earlier, if not for the splendid goalkeeping of Hul Kimhuy.
The first half ended with the teams tied with one goal apiece.
The score remained the same early in the second half, before Cambodian forward Our Phearon of Boeung Ket FC broke the tie in the 63rd minute.
The Boeung Ket FC backline held, while Mat came up with another goal in the 90th minute to seal the Boeung Ket FC’s sixth win in the tournament
The win allowed the wards of interim coach Kim Pheakdey to claim the second spot in the standings with 20 points, just two points behind the leader. The players of head coach Sum Vanna dropped two spots and are now ranked fourth with 18 points, a single point behind third-ranking Visakha FC.
In the other games on Sunday, the National Police FC finally scored their first win after blanking Electricite du Cambodge, 3-0, while NagaWorld continued their hot streak with another win, this time against the National Football Academy (Bati), 3-0.