The final home match of the season saw Quang Ninh visit the Hang Day Stadium. With the VLeague title sewn up two rounds ago and no real confirmation if the second CL/AFC Cup slot will go to the league runner-up or the Cup winners this was set to be one of those end of season games where you really want to get excited but in reality you’re already looking ahead to next season.
With T&T set to face the League Champions in the Cup on 26th September and most teams not reaching FIFA requirements for continental competition I personally think it’s safe to say once again Binh Duong and HaNoi T&T will be Vietnam’s representatives in next season’s continental fixtures, be it the CL or AFC Cup.
Quang Ninh’s return to top flight football two seasons ago has brought with it some great fans, adding a carnival atmosphere whenever they come to the HaNoi. This year was no different; 600-800 fans clad in blue filled the huge corner terrace, tying blue balloons together before sending huge blue snakes into the sky.
The T&T fans also came out in good numbers, yet the Contras seemed to be down a few regulars. Were they indeed from Quang NInh? Most HaNoi fans are made up of students from other provinces, in fact one study suggests up to 80% of HaNoi’s current population reside from neighbouring provinces. I’ve personally seen a few T&T fans switch allegiances depending on the oppositions. It’s not a bad thing….If stevenage ever faced Arsenal I’d have the same dilemma.
With attendances swelling to an average of 5,000 (I’ll work out more accurate averages that do not include the visit of HAGL later!) there’s been a real buzz in the stands this season and I too had my most successful number of ‘foreign fans’, a grand total of 8! (plus 5 more that I didn’t know!) Soon the seas of yellow shirt will indeed spread far and wide across the city…….
Dreaming over….the match itself promised to be an entertaining fixture with these two teams sharing 14 goals in the the last three fixtures. Van Hieu returned to the capital, this time in the blue midfield of Than Quảng Ninh and I eagerly pointed out the impressive Mac hong Quan to anyone who would listen.
As is normal with football, the game turned out to be rather dire with both teams just lofting hopeless balls forward and straight down the middle of the park. Wingers were redundant. T&T seemed to think Gonzalo had the speed of Theo Walcott as they lofted through ball after through ball to the big target man.
These type of matches either end goalless with people wondering how they can regain the hour and half of their lives they’ve lost or they’re blown away by a moment of brilliance.
Fortunately T&T have have Nguyễn Văn Quyết, one of the outstanding players of the season. From 25 yards out the winger/strikers stood behind the ball as Huỳnh Tuấn Linh organised his wall. tHe whistle blew. Van Quyet approached and unleashed a fierce shot. Up and over the wall and straight into the top corner. Brilliant. Jumping around, I realised this was to be the last goal the Contras and Hàng Đẫy stadium would see this season. Văn Quyết 11th strike.
In fact it took a little deflection which propelled the ball to nestle in the top corner but who cares anyway, it lifted the atmosphere and ensured HaNoi T& T remained unbeaten all season at home.
Ha Noi T&T 1 – 0 Quang Ninh
Nguyễn Văn Quyết 76′
Hàng Đẫy Stadium: 3,000