Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Final throes

I'm not looking past Phnom Penh Crown as this season's C-League championship winners - but what do I know?
The final throes of the Metfone C-League regular season begin today with 3rd placed BBU meeting Khemara at the Olympic Stadium. If BBU win, as I expect them to, they will finish on 39 points and are likely to meet Phnom Penh Crown in the play-off semi-final, as I predict Crown will beat Preah Khan Reach on Saturday to stay ahead of BBU on goal difference in 2nd spot. 2nd versus 3rd is one of the semis whilst 1st - which Naga have already guaranteed - meet the 4th placed team, who will be Preah Khan. Are you still with me? Sticking my neck out even further I reckon Crown will go through to the play-off final on 22 August at 3.30pm, and will meet....Preah Khan. For me, Crown are determined to make the final and have the manpower to back up their convictions whilst Naga haven't really convinced me this season, even though they accumulated the most points, and Preah Khan might just have the edge in their semi (that's if my other predictions hold water). A Phnom Penh Crown versus Preah Khan final is my prediction, with Crown edging it.
As for the other games this coming weekend; Naga will meet Wat Phnom on Saturday and are likely to rest players as they prepare for their semi-final. That could give Wat Phnom the chance to spring a surprise and edge out Prek Pra in the relegation dogfight, as I don't expect Prek Pra to get anything from Kirivong on Sunday. I hope that's not the case as Prek Pra deserve their survival. The final game of the regular season will see relegated Chhmao Khmao meet the Army, and both teams will be glad to bring the curtain down on disappointing seasons. As for the Golden Boot top dog, even though he won't be appearing in the play-offs, I expect Julius Ononiwu of Kirivong to take the crown that was worn by his compatriot Prince Justine last season.
Update; As expected, BBU beat Khemara, 2-1 but it needed an injury-time penalty-kick winner from substitute and top scorer Nuth Sinoun for the students to claim the points. Suon Makara gave Khemara an early lead which BBU's Prum Putsethy cancelled out on the hour mark, leaving Sinoun to grab the glory right at the death.
The new Cambodian national team coach is expected to arrive in the country next week after both football federations agreed on the choice of Sejin Yeo as the man to fill the spot vacated by Scott O'Donell a couple of months ago. He should be here in time to watch the C-League play-offs though he will be dependent on his new coaching team to identify 40 of the best players in the country for the national team's important series of games in October's Suzuki Cup, to be held in Laos.

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