Angkor Tiger have been severely criticised by their supporters after they were stunned by Prey Veng FC in the opening match of the new Cambodian League Cup. They paid the price for not selecting their top players on Sunday, while NagaWorld also disappointed.
Their top-tier league rivals Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng, Visakha, Kirivong Sok Sen Chey, Tiffy Army, Phnom Penh Crown and Boeung Ket all won their respective matches on the same day.
Through the four group stage qualifiers on Saturday and Sunday, the top seven teams from the Cambodian Premier League all used their key players – as well as their foreign players – but the Siem Reap-based Angkor Tiger opted to play a much younger side, with the absence of any foreign players.
While focusing on giving young players opportunities on the pitch, Angkor Tiger disappointed the fans who showed up at Hanuman Stadium, receiving strong criticism from fans after their loss to League Two team Prey Veng FC 1-0 through a 95th minute goal to Voeun Va.
Some supporters of the club posed critical questions to Angkor Tiger’s management over the inclusion of so many young players, with some claiming that they felt they had wasted their money buying tickets and others declaring that they will no longer support the club if they continue to select teams this way.
One supporter wrote on his social media: “As a professional club, no matter what the competition is, we need to compete, because we have never won a single domestic title. Every club played their full strength squad, but our club used kids to play! It’s important to gain experience, but it’s more important to score points. We need to win, we need a trophy.”
In a less surprising display, the leading Cambodian Premier League team Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng defeated Siem Reap FC 6-0 to move up to first place in Group B, while Tiffy Army beat all Khmer Electricite du Cambodge (EDC) 3-1 to stand in second place. Kirivong Sok Sen Chey beat Koh Kong FC 5-2 to move to the top of Group A, while NagaWorld and ISI Dangkor Sen Chey finished with a 1-1 draw.
Phnom Penh Crown and Boeung Ket, who are in Group C, defeated their League Two opponents, with the former defeating the National Police 3-0 to control first place and the latter narrowly besting the National Football Academy 1-0 to sit in second.