Football Tribe SEA Editor
After enduring suspension due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, football finally made its triumphant return to Vietnamese soil yesterday. The first round match of the 2020 Vietnamese National Cup between V.League 1 sides Duoc Nam Ha Nam Dinh and Hoang Anh Gia Lai was played yesterday at Nam Dinh’s Thien Truong Stadium in front of a limited crowd of 10000 within the 30000 people-capacity stadium, with the match ending in a decisive 2-0 victory for the hosts.
The reduced capacity didn’t stop Nam Dinh’s passionate supporters from flocking the Thien Truong Stadium and a sea of yellow can be clearly seen from the stands throughout the match. Having finished 8th the previous season and sitting nicely on 3rd place prior the suspension of the ongoing 2020 V.League 1 season, HAGL were clearly the favorites of this knockout tie, with the winner advancing to the second round of the Vietnamese National Cup.
However, spurred on by their passionate supporters, Nam Dinh managed to brave through the cagey encounter and stunned HAGL in the 42nd minute. Mai Xuan Quyet delivered the perfect cross for Brazilian striker Rafaelson, who struck home the opener. HAGL never recovered from that and their defeat were made certain in the 63rd minute after Xuan Quyet scored Nam Dinh’s second that sent the sea of yellow within Thien Truong into raptures.
The match between Nam Dinh and HAGL was the first official football match played in Southeast Asia following the COVID-19 pandemic that suspended football competitions within the region. With the pandemic being contained successfully in Vietnam, the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) resumed footballing activity within the country albeit with strict limitations in regards of spectators. The 2020 V.League top flight is set to resume on June 5th.
The first round action of the 2020 Vietnamese National Cup resumes today with 4 matches that saw 3-time winners Song Lam Nghe An hosting V.League 2 side Binh Dinh FC in Vinh and Sai Gon FC making the short travel out of Ho Chi Minh City to visit ambitious V.League 2 upstarts Ba Ria-Vung Tau. Monday’s action sees five matches ready to be played out, among them V.League 2 promotion hopefuls Pho Hien taking on Thanh Hoa FC of V.League 1 in Hung Yen – a repeat of last season’s relegation/promotion play-off match that Thanh Hoa won 1-0 to remain in the top flight for this season.