After securing back-to-back national cup triumphs over Quảng Ninh and HAGL, securing an August semi-final appearance against local rivals Hai Phong, T&T returned to league action with Danang visiting the capital.
This was may first game since the thriller against HAGL. having spent a few weeks in England I’d missed both cup ties and a comprehensive 4-1 home defeat of bottom club Can Tho. The HAGL game also fell before the second, rather long, season break, this time due to the SEA Games in Singapore (where the Vietnam U23 finished 3rd). This period also saw personnel changes throughout the country. T&T released Trinidad and Tobago internationals Hector (who is injured) and central defender Cyrus. Experienced ‘keeper Hong Son seems to have disappeared, being replaced by Anh Duc, while Hong Tien has lost his left back berth to young sam Ngoc Duc.
Prior to the game the oddly named Hanoi fan group, the Contras, had planned something special, I guessed confetti, but never dreamed of what was to occur. Aa small band of around 30-40 fans, and led by 4-5 devoted fanatics (weird to say that as they only arrived this year), the group commissioned 17 huge individual player banners, which were released from the upper tier and hung, and swung in the wind, above the small group, clad in yellow shirts and scarfs. Amazing scenes.
A cagey first half saw the teams enter the break goalless, with most attention still being focused on the huge banners, and untangling them as the wind swept through the stadium.
T&T took the lead just two minutes after the restart with Samson picking out the top corner from the penalty spot, his 9 goal of the season.
Danang responded well, creating wave after wave of attacks. Hanoi can be grateful for new ‘keeper Anh Duc, with the visiting attack unable to beat the rookie ‘keeper on no less than four occasions.
Thanh Luong secured T&T’s mini revival with a fantastic strike, sending a shot from the edge of the box looping over a stranded Lê Văn Hưng and into the top corner. Three points secured, gaining two on top of the league Binh Duong who were held to a 1-1 draw with SLNA (in front of an impressive 15,000 fans).
The title charge is back on for for Hanoi T&T, just 10 points adrift with 12 to play.
As the banners state, “keep the dream alive’
Hà Nội T&T 2-0 SHB Đà Nẵng
Samson 47’Thành Lương 64′
Hàng Đẫy: 2,000