League leaders, Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng FC, encountered their biggest test yet from rivals Visakha FC, but still came out on top as Cambodia’s top football league completes its tenth week.
PKR Svay Rieng FC came from behind to beat Visakha FC 3-2 during their match at the Svay Rieng Stadium on Sunday.
The home team struggled in the first half, but recovered in time to post their eighth win in the Metfone Cambodian League (MCL). The win also allowed PKR Svay Rieng FC to maintain pole position.
For much of the game, it appeared that Visakha FC would hand the defending champions their first loss of the 2020 season but PKR Svay Rieng FC pulled off the turnaround, maintaining their unbeaten run.
“It was a great display of football for the Kingdom of Cambodia. Both teams, worked extremely hard, Visakha had the better play in the first half, then we woke up second half and showed our true character and quality,” ace defender Jonny Campbell said.
Led by Croatian forward Filip Mijaljevic, Visakha FC opened the scoring in the 38th minute. Mijaljevic successfully converted a free-kick leaving keeper Aim Sovannarath beaten.
PKR Svay Rieng FC then began a relentless counter-attack, but could not overcome the backline of Visakha FC. The defence of PKR Svay Rieng FC held equally firm, not allowing their opponents to widen their lead, ending the half with a single goal in it.
Visakha FC’s lead continued for the better part of the next 45 minutes, before the PKR Svey Rieng FC tied the game with less than 20 minutes remaining.
The aggressiveness and persistence of Jean Befolo “Privat” Mbarga finally paid off as the Cameroonian forward converted a corner kick by defender Tieng Tiny in the 74th minute.
Japanese midfielder Daisuke Kobayashi then outran three defenders in the 77th minute, before kicking in a goal past keeper Keo Soksela. In the space of three minutes, PKR Svay Rieng FC had completely turned the game around and lead 2-1.
Visakha FC were able to temporarily level seven minutes later with a header by Mijaljevic.
But Mbarga once again came to the rescue of PKR Svay Rieng FC. He received a cross from Brazilian midfielder Thiago Santos and slotted in a goal past Keo in the 87th minute to put his team ahead in the dying minutes.
That goal proved to the blow which Visakha FC did not recover from.
“I’m very happy with all my teammates, their character and willingness to fight for the win. We have now played 35 games in the Metfone Cambodia League since the start of 2019 and have only lost one match. That’s a real testament to the character of our players, coaching staff and fans,” Campbell said.
“Now, we are focused for our next match this Saturday. We need to continue raising our level and fix the mistakes we made here,” he added.
In the other games on Sunday, Boeung Ket FC defeated Electricite du Cambodge, 4-2, while Bati Youth settled for a draw against National Police FC.