The unrelenting race for the play-offs continues in the Metfone C-League as Phnom Penh Crown were frustrated at home as they were held to a 1-1 draw by NagaWorld at the RSN Stadium.
But perhaps the most exciting news came from the Svay Rieng Stadium where 2016 champions Boeung Ket inflicted only a second league defeat of the season to table topping Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng.
Naga struck first here in Phnom Penh, with only 18 minutes on the clock when Atuheire Kipson seized on some poor defending to edge the visitors ahead.
Young Crown midfielder Sin Kakada was caught in possession yards outside the penalty box and a quick break from Naga left the ball at the feet of the MCL’s leading goalscorer Kipson, who rifled the ball beyond Keo Soksela with his deadly left foot.
Naga roughed up Crown’s youngsters and bullied their way through the remainder of the half to go into the break with the lead. They looked set to claim the points in the second period by maintaining the intensity and the aggression in an attempt to slow down the hosts.
But with time running out, Crown captain Shane Booysen was the key as the six-time champions drew level in the 82nd minute, albeit through horrendous goalkeeping from the Naga keeper.
Booysen’s whipped 35-yard effort from the free kick was parried by the keeper, who could only look on as Keo Sokpheng reacted quickest to bundle home the rebound – and secure a share of the points for the hosts.
“This is not the result we deserve because we were best team on the field yesterday, but our team is clearly in full progress,” said Crown’s French-born Cambodian defender Kok Boris.
“This year we can challenge or dominate the best teams of the Cambodia Metfone League with our young players.
“So if we continue to play for each other, winning the league will become true.”
At Svay Rieng, Boeung Ket gave hosts PKR a shock as they strolled to a 2-0 win in dreadful conditions.
On an at times unplayable muddy pitch, fans had to wait until the second half to see Brazilian striker Maicon Calijuri grab a fine brace of goals to hand all three points to the visitors.
With Crown drawing at home to Naga, the win allowed Boeung Ket to leapfrog their rivals into third place in the standings. Naga closed the gap with PKR to only four points.
Saturday’s games were wrapped up as Ministry of National Defence edged out Cambodian Tiger 2-1 at the Army Stadium.
In yesterday afternoon’s action, Kirivong Soksenchey fell to a 14th defeat of the season in a 2-1 reverse to Western FC at the Takeo Stadium to continue their designation as the league’s worst performing team.
Also yesterday, Asia Euro United FC prevailed over CMAC in a 3-2 win at the Army Stadium.