If you’re one of these guys on twitter that asks the Hanoi Football Show for tips, or even listens to the podcast, I strongly suggest you stop betting on the 2016 V League title race or at least do the opposite of what we say! It seems form doesn’t matter, the opposition doesn’t matter, and suspensions to key players and even coaches doesn’t matter.
Possibly the closest title race in VLeague History!
Hanoi T&T lead a group of three, including Quảng Ninh and Hai Phong, on 44 points with Danang just a further point back. Then there’s Thanh Hoa, although 5 points adrift still technically in the race. I’d predicted that one team would fall from the race this week and was leaning towards Danang being that team. I was very wrong, again.
T&T and Quang Ninh seem to be peaking at the right time
Thanh Hóa fight back to hold leaders Quảng Ninh.
The game of the day was at Thanh Hóa, with 1st v 5th in front of a lively 10,000 fans. The home side took the lead through a towering header from Senegalese striker Faye (41’). After the break the game turned in favour of the visitors when Đào Văn Phong conceded a penalty and received his second yellow card. Vũ Minh Tuấn duly smashed home the equaliser.
Thanh Hóa looked to be losing control when with just ten minutes remaining Mai Tiến Thành received his second yellow of the game and the home side were reduced to 9 men. With a big numerical advantage Quảng Ninh rallied and eventually took the lead when Bùi Văn Hiếu bundled home from close range with 4 minutes remaining.
Both teams then had further chances but it was an extraordinary blunder that changed the game deep into injury time. Quảng Ninh keeper, Huỳnh Tuấn Linh failed to deal with a simple long ball and somehow just patted it into the path of the onrushing Sunday Emmanuel who slotted in to an empty net. Cue wild celebrations on the touchline and despair for those in blue.
A 1000 travelling Quảng Ninh fans still celebrated their team at the final whistle
Hà Nội T&T move top after a nervy 1-0 win over Sanna Khánh Hòa
Both sides entered the match missing their main strikers, Samson (injury) for T&T and Uche (suspended) for Khanh Hoa. The pair have been responsible for 27 goals between them this season. Gonzalo led the attack for Hanoi while it seemed no one led the attack for Khanh Hoa for most of the match, as they opted to ‘park the bus’ for long periods while their keeper continuously just returned the ball to the Hanoi defence with high long kicks to know one in blue.
The breakthrough came on 40’ minutes when the MOTM Phan Thành Lương was brought down in the area by Van Trien and Nguyễn Văn Quyết stepped up to convert the penalty.
After the break Khánh Hòa looked to capitalise on a rather lethargic performance from T&T and continued to threaten, but without creating any clear cut chances. T&T held on and now lead the table with a superior goal difference.
The ‘Beast’ keeps Đà Nẵng in the hunt as they see off Sài Gòn 3-1.
Having fallen behind to a Nguyễn Xuân Nam (18’) goal Đà Nẵng hit back to record a comfortable 3-1 and keep them within touching distance of the title. Gaston ‘the beast’ Merlo recorded his 19 & 20th goals of the season, either side of one from Lê Hoàng Thiên.
The result would’ve have been even more comfortable had it not been for a couple of brilliant saves from Saigon keeper Tống Đức An and another poor decision from a referee who failed to notice a blatant handball from a Saigon defender in the box.
Hải Phòng steady the ship with a 2-1 win over QNK Quảng Nam
After a couple of rocky weeks, which has involved coach suspensions, poor form and infighting amongst their own players, Hải Phòng recorded their first win in 4 to remain joint top, however they fall to third for the first time all season, albeit om goal difference.
The game involved a couple of odd decisions, firstly Quảng Nam leading scorer Claudecir was rested ( I assume rested as he looked fine warming up and came on in the second half) and Quảng Nam had a perfectly good goal ruled out for offside after just a few minutes, although the striker was clearly 3ft onside. At times the standard of referring has been shocking this season.
Quảng Nam took the lead through a fine long range effort by Phan Đình Thắng (67′) but the lead didn’t last long as Lê Văn Thắng (8) 70′ equalised before Quang Nam keeper, Phạm Văn Cường, pushed a week effort straight to Andre Diego Fangan (73′) who couldn’t miss from 2 yards out.
Hoàng Anh Gia Lai thrashed Đồng Tháp 5-2 in Pleiku to record their 5 win in 6. Vũ Văn Thanh (25′, 45’+1) hit a brace with Nguyễn Văn Toàn (47′), Nguyễn Lam (67′) & Trần Minh Vương (81′) also getting on the scoresheet. Nguyễn Hữu Phúc (4′) & Nguyễn Thiện Chí (52′) got the goals for already relegated Đồng Tháp.
Long An & Cần Thơ played out an entertaining 3-3 draw in Tan An. Long An took a goal lead through
Huỳnh Tấn Tài (26′) & Nguyễn Tài Lộc (52′); before Cần Thơ hit back with goals from Nguyễn Hải Anh (64′); Nguyễn Thế Hưng (71′). Long An thought they’d sealed their sixth win of the season through Trần Hoài Nam (73′) but Oseni (80’) equalised with 10 minutes remaining.
Long An are guaranteed to finish second bottom and will face Viettel in the VLeague 1 promotion play-off on September 23rd.
Bình Dương’s miserable season continued as they fell to a 2-0 defeat at Sông Lam Nghệ An. Hồ Tuấn Tài (19′) and Nguyễn Phú Nguyên (61′) got the goals for SLNA.
The title run in: