Against all expectations and stiff odds, league newcomers Electricite du Cambodge upset joint leaders Ministry of National Defence 2-1 at Old Stadium on Saturday, as Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng laboured at home to a 4-3 win over Asia Euro United to emerge as sole leaders at the end of the first phase of the 2017 Metfone C-League season.
Playing in front of an enthusiastic home crowd in Siem Reap, Cambodian Tiger completed a 3-2 win over Western Phnom Penh.
Two quick and smart counterattacks by the Electricitymen five minutes before the break were the feature of their upset win over a strangely subdued Army outfit that could do nothing of note with their better possession and nearly a dozen shots on target compared to their rivals’ three. Army forced four times as many corners as their rivals but their set-pieces didn’t work, as did some promising free-kicks.
Army’s loss was a big gain for Svay Rieng, who despite a second-half rally by AEU managed to peg back the visitors in a seven-goal affair on the back of a Chigozie Prinwell brace.
There was no hint of a shock until five minutes before the interval, when all of a sudden EDC ambushed Army with two rapid strikes. After gaining unfettered access to the box, EDC forward Chin Chum easily sidestepped the onrushing Army goalkeeper Oum Sereyroth to give the first season hopefuls a huge break.
Within minutes, EDC doubled their advantage when Sok Chan Reaksmey was well placed at the edge of the box to turn in a quality cross from the right flank, with Sereyroth again flat-footed and in two minds.
It was by no means an easy task defending the lead for EDC as Army used all the force at its command. But neither the ever consistent Choe Myong-ho nor the hard-working Chhin Chhoeun could figure out a way of breaking EDC’s resolve.
But five minutes before regulation time, Ke Vannak managed to squeeze home in a crowded area for a consolation goal for Army.