V.League 1. Round 5: Thanh Hóa maintain the pace as HAGL get their first win.
Ljubomir Petrovic’s Thanh Hóa maintained their lead at the top of the table with an injury time winner from Hoàng Văn Bình against promoted side TP.HCM. HCM acquitted themselves well in an even game, hitting the bar twice. On a more unsavory note, this match featured the ‘horrendous tackle of the week’. The award went to Lê Quốc Phương for jumping and then stamping on HCM’s Âu Văn Hoàn. The midfielder, who escaped a dismissal during the match, has subsequently been banned for 2 matches.
Quảng Nam climbed up to second spot with a 4-2 victory at SLNA. The home side led 2-0 at half time after goals from Henry and Lê Thế Cường . SLNA coach, Đức Thắng, will be fuming as he watched his defence completely capitulate in the second half. Claudecir, so lethal last season, bagged a brace either side of a Nguyen Trung Dai Duong (Suleiman) goal, with Phan Thanh Hưng adding the fourth. Maybe it’s not such a surprise the central coast team find themselves in second spot, considering they have now only lost 3 of their last 20 V.League matches.
Hà Nội made five changes for the visit of Đà Nẵng. Anh Đức, Duy Khánh, Moses, Văn Quyết and Loris Arnaud came in for Van Cong, Silva, Thái Quý, Gonzalo and Samson, respectively. Đà Nẵng were unchanged from the side that beat Hai Phòng.
Hà Nội dominated the first half and took a 1-0 lead in to the break after a wonderful strike from Nguyễn Quảng Hải . Đà Nẵng hit back in a very entertaining second half, eventually equalizing through a curling long range effort from Captain Nguyễn Vũ Phong. There was an interesting battle between Hanoi central defender, Duy Khánh, making his first start since July 2014, up against Hà Đức Chinh, Đà Nẵng’s in form young striker, with both players having fine games.
Bình Dương’s inform striker Nguyễn Anh Đức secured a point at Sài Gòn with his 6th goal of the season. Patrick Cruz had given Sài Gòn the lead with a powerful header before Anh Đức’s free kick beat Tống Đức An.
Đặng Văn Lâm, Hải Phòng’s keeper, received the plaudits as his side took maximum points at Long An. Errol Stevens gave the visitors the lead before Ash Apollon equalized. Central defender Lê Văn Thắng smashed home the winner for last year’s runners up, but it was Đặng Văn Lâm who stole the headlines with a string of fine saves, in particular racing out of his area, think Peter Schmeichel like, to deny Apollon.
Quảng Ninh found some form on the road with a convincing 3-0 win at Khánh Hòa. Goals from Vũ Minh Tuấn, Đình Nhơn (OG) and Patiyo late on secured Phan Thanh Hùng’s side their second win of the campaign.
And finally, HAGL’s Nguyễn Công Phượng stole the weekends headlines with his first ever V.League brace against fellow strugglers Cần Thơ in Pleiku.
It was the visitors who had the better of a scrappy first half but would be punished for not converting any of their chances. Vũ Văn Thanh’s drive on 57 minutes put the home side ahead before Công Phượng volleyed home from close range before dispatching from the edge of the box after a long range effort had come back off the post. Cần Thơ’s Nguyễn Quang Tình had a great long range effort late on only to be denied by HAGL ‘keeper Phạm Văn Tiến. Maybe more importantly it was HAGL’s first clean sheet in 24 matches, nearly a whole season in the VLeague.