Football Tribe SEA Editor
The 2020 Vietnamese Super Cup, which pits 2019 V.League 1 and Vietnamese National Cup winners Hanoi FC against 2019 V.League 1 runners-up Ho Chi Minh City FC, is likely to be held behind closed doors at Ho Chi Minh City’s Thong Nhat Stadium this coming March 1st. This is due to the ongoing concerns of the COVID-19 epidemic, which has already caused a number of delays and disruptions in football competitions in China, South Korea, and Japan. The match itself was initially scheduled to be played on February 7th at the Thong Nhat, however, the coronavirus epidemic has caused the Vietnamese government to issue a suspension on all sporting activities within the country for a month, which caused the Super Cup, along with the opening matches in both the V.League 1 and the V.League 2 as well as the opening stages of the 2020 Vietnamese National Cup, to be delayed.
Tran Anh Tu, the president of the Vietnam Professional Football Joint Stock Company, has issued this statement on Wednesday as quoted from VNExpress, “We cannot delay the Super Cup even further and the match will most definitely take place on March 1st. However, in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, there’s a possibility that the match will be played behind closed doors.”
Both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City fans will be disappointed that this highly-anticipated match will be played without spectators, but to their relief, the 2020 Vietnamese Super Cup will be aired on VTV, meaning that fans of both teams will be able to see their favorite players in action from live television. Players from the two teams will also be disappointed at the absence of support, but nevertheless they’ll try to do their best during the match.
Hanoi are not only Vietnam’s best team, but also arguably the best team in Southeast Asia, having claimed the title of ASEAN’s best in the 2019 AFC Cup, with the likes of Nguyen Van Quyet and Nguyen Quang Hai performing superbly throughout 2019 for the capital club. However, Hanoi are denied an AFC license for 2020 due to their youth team being absent from youth competitions in 2019. This meant that league runners-up Ho Chi Minh City are taking their place in AFC competitions for 2020 and despite losing their AFC Champions League qualifier to Buriram United of Thailand, Ho Chi Minh City have been performing admirably in the 2020 AFC Cup despite the unfavorable conditions right now.
The COVID-19 outbreak has forced Vietnamese clubs in the 2020 AFC Cup to play their first two group stage games away from home, and Ho Chi Minh City have done well to draw 2-2 against Myanmar’s Yangon United and survive a late fightback in Singapore to beat Hougang United 3-2. This meant that the team from the south of Vietnam are now leading their AFC Cup group with 4 points and on the back of those performances, Ho Chi Minh City should be relishing their chances against the much-fancied Hanoi this Sunday, especially with the likes of Nguyen Cong Phuong and former Celtic, Persebaya Surabaya, and PSM Makassar man Amido Balde hitting form during Ho Chi Minh City’s Asian exploits.