Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The final three weeks

I'm pictured with the Metfone trophy at the end of last season - Crown appear destined to miss out this term
Boeung Ket's 5-3 whipping of the current Metfone C-League leaders, Preah Khan Reach this afternoon, cemented the Kompong Cham team's position in the top 4 play-off places with the domestic league season coming to a close in just over three weeks time. At the season's close, the leading four clubs will face off in the Super 4 play-offs, on dates yet to be announced, and both of today's protagonists look likely to make it, leaving last season's champions, Phnom Penh Crown looking on and out of contention in fifth place. It's not a done deal just yet, but with remaining matches dwindling fast, time is running out for the AFC President's Cup finalists. Preah Khan Reach are in pole position with 32 points and two matches left to play, against BBU and Army. Naga are lying second with four games remaining, currently on thirty points, and are scheduled to meet Chhlam Samuth, Kirivong, BBU and Crown. Also on 30 points are National Police, who must play Western Uni and Chhlam Samuth to finish their league campaign before heading off to play in the Eximbank Cup in Vietnam in two weeks time. Boeung Ket are in 4th on 27 points and have three easy games to finish, against Westerm, Kirivong and Chhlam Samuth. Meanwhile, Phnom Penh Crown are in fifth spot on 23 points and must still play Kirivong, Army and Naga. Only three victories will give the defending champions a chance of clawing back lost ground, but for them to make the play-offs then one of the current top four teams would have to suffer a dramatic meltdown and lose their remaining games. On current form and looking at their remaining opponents, that doesn't look likely to happen. With the Police team involved in Vietnam, the federation have not yet decided exactly when the play-off matches will be held, having re-introduced the Super 4 decider this season. In this afternoon's match, Preah Khan took a 2-1 half-time lead through David Njoku's penalty and Phany Ratha, with Friday Nwakuna netting for Boeung Ket. Ly Ravy levelled it before Soun Veasna put PKR ahead again from the penalty spot. That simply spurred Boeung Ket on as PKR rolled over and three goals in six minutes late in the game sealed the 5-3 win, with Nwakuna, Oum Kumpheak and Keo Sokngorn scoring. It was a pitiful showing by the league leaders. In two other matches, the Cambodia national team have started their warm-up games for their AFF Suzuki Cup campaign with two wins over C-League teams, Preah Khan 5-3 and BBU 4-3 in recent days.

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