Socheat aiming to get off to a winning start

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Boeung Ket captain Khoun Laboravy celebrates scoring against Lao Toyota in the AFC Cup on January 31. Sreng Meng Srun

In his new caretaker role as Boeung Ket Angkor coach, Hao Socheat will guide the team’s fortunes against the tough but unpredictable Commissary of National Police at Old Stadium at 3pm on Sunday evening as the first phase of the Metfone C-League season winds up this weekend.

The defending champions parted ways with head coach John McGlynn after their 2-1 win over CMAC United last week, bringing in his assistant Socheat as an immediate replacement for the Australian, who was in the job for less than five months.

A spokesman for the club dismissed suggestions that McGlynn’s exit was a setback, arguing that such changes were part and parcel of the game and that the players looked forward to a positive outcome to maintain the pressure on frontrunners Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng and Ministry of National Defence.

With just one point separating Boeung Ket from the top two, a win over Police would keep the team in the box seat going into the final phase of the competition.

Police have been struggling to hit their best form so far this season, but if the side keeps to its reputation as giant slayers when least expected, Boeung Ket could hit some trouble.

In Sunday’s other fixtures, Phnom Penh Crown, who failed to sustain a two-goal lead against Army and eventually went down by the odd goal in three, face CMAC United at Old Stadium at 6pm, while the tottering Kirivong Sok Sen Chey lay out the welcome mat for NagaWorld at their Takeo facility at 3pm.

With their nine-match unbeaten run coming to an end last week following their 3-1 loss to NagaWorld, the Svay Rieng Stadium will be filled at 6pm on Saturday evening with lively anticipation that the home side will take its frustrations out on Asia Euro United.

Having led the table through the first 10 weeks, it is imperative for Svay Rieng to end the first round on a winning note.

Army are brimming with confidence after overturning a two-goal deficit to beat Crown in their last fixture, a win that helped them to join Svay Rieng at the top of the table.

Newcomers Electricite du Cambodge will have a tough task handling the free-wheeling Army attack led by North Korean Choe Myong-ho on Saturday at 6pm at Old Stadium.

Cambodian Tiger will host Western Phnom Penh at their Siem Reap Stadium on Saturday at 3pm.