The Metfone C-League season resumes after the Khmer New Year Break with leaders Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng all set to prove they will surrender nothing when they face the fiercely competitive Ministry of National Defence on Sunday at Phnom Penh’s Old Stadium.
Two points separate the frontrunners when they get down to their twilight top-of-the-table clash at at 6pm, with both sides remaining unbeaten after seven game weeks.
With six wins on the spin after opening the campaign to regain their 2013 title with a 2-2 draw against defending champions Boeung Ket, Svay Rieng have grown both in strength and confidence.
But Sunday’s game brings its challenges, of which will likely be handling the Army’s robust style of play and blunting the strong North Korean strikeforce in its arsenal.
Both sides will be hoping for a positive result to keep their momentum going as they push for league honours.
Home turf and a two-point cushion may provide Svay Rieng some comfort, yet it could well be a game unlike any they have played so far this season because the Armymen have often proved a tough outfit to deal with.
Army draw most of their attacking strength from the North Korean trio led by Choe Myong-ho, who has half a dozen goals to his credit.
In Sunday’s other matches, fifth-placed Phnom Penh Crown will entertain new comers Electricite du Cambodge in sixth at RSN Stadium at 6pm, while Kirivong Sok Sen Chey, rooted to the bottom of the table and looking desperately for a first win, will welcome Cambodian Tiger to Takeo for a 3pm kick-off.
Saturday’s main fixture at Olympic Stadium at 6pm will feature Boeung Ket Angkor and NagaWorld, who currently occupy third and fourth spots in the standings respectively.
Boeung Ket found themselves in at the deep-end when they played Malaysian giants Johor Darul Ta’Zim on Wednesday, and the 3-0 defeat did expose the side’s vulnerabilities to quality attacks.
Now that Boeung Ket’s AFC Cup chances have faded, the side can turn their focus on defending their league title, having lost some crucial ground in the early stages of the campaign.
With just three wins and as many draws, NagaWorld are still struggling to strike the right balance and a good showing against a strong side like Boeung Ket would help coach Meas Channa’s hopes of staying firmly in touch with the leaders.
In two other matches carded for Saturday, second-bottom CMAC United, who are also yet to record a win, will be up against eighth placed Western Phnom Penh at Old Stadium at 3pm, while seventh-placed Commissary of National Police will square off at the same venue at 6pm against Asia Euro United, who occupy 10th.