Ministry of National Defense secured passage to the 2018 Hun Sen Cup final coming from behind to win a thrilling 3-1 victory in extra-time over rivals NagaWorld in their semi-final meeting at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday evening. They will face National Police in the final after they registered a 2-0 defeat of Angkor Tiger in the weekend’s other semi-final.
Nhim Sovannara had poked Naga ahead after seizing on a fumbled catch by Army keeper Um Sereirath in the 9th minute but Sok Heang smartly restored parity for Army midway through the first half. After 90 minutes of action failed to separate the sides, Army struck twice through the head of Por Piseth and a splendid Chhin Choeun finish to claim a berth in next months’ final.
Speaking after the final whistle, Army coach Phea Sopheaktra explained that while he was happy to take his team through to a final in his first season at the helm, credit should instead go to the entire club.
“I am happy with the victory because it is only the first year I have been leading this team after being assistant for the last two years. But this is a result of a team not individuals, said coach Sopheaktra. “The credit should go to the players for their hard work.
Meanwhile, NagaWorld coach Meas Channa said that Naga’s loss was due to a lack of luck.
“With regards to playing today, we are frustrated and disappointed, said the respected tactician. It just wasn’t our day today. We played well in the first half and even in the second. We had chances but today we had no luck.”
The final between Army and Police is set for October 6 at the National Stadium.
The Hun Sen Cup, short for the Samdech Akkak Moha Sena Pedey Decho Hun Sen Cup, debuted in 2007 and has since been played annually. The inaugural competition was won by Khemara Keila, with Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng the most successful side in the tournament’s short history with four cup wins.
In last year’s final, PKR were in no mood for niceties as they ended their season on a high with a 3-0 thrashing of NagaWorld. Sok Samnang struck a fine double in a first-half dominated by coach Vandeth Sam’s men, sending PKR into the half-time break with a comfortable lead. A Hoy Phallin thunderbolt midway through the second half killed off any chance of an unlikely Naga fightback and handing PKR a fourth domestic cup.