Football Tribe SEA Editor
The first set of matches for the second round of the 2020 Vietnamese National Cup were played on Saturday night. Three out of the four matches played on that day went into penalties, while one match, between V.League 2’s An Giang FC and Viettel FC of V.League 1, was resolved in 90 minutes. Visiting Viettel won that match straightforwardly with a 2-0 scoreline, with goals from Nham Manh Dung (70th minute) and Bui Quang Khai (78th minute) effectively eliminating hosts An Giang in front of their own supporters.
V.League 2’s Ba Ria-Vung Tau once again made headlines last night as they pulled off yet another giant-killing. Fresh from disposing V.League 1’s Sai Gon FC in the first round, BRVT went one-up and knocked out another V.League 1 side, this time 3-time Vietnamese National Cup winners Song Lam Nghe An. Playing at SLNA’s Vinh Stadium, the men in yellow’s faithful supporters were silenced as ambitious upstarts BRVT eliminated the hosts on penalties after a 1-1 draw after 90 minutes – drawn matches go straight to penalties in this stage of the Vietnamese National Cup.
Having last won the competition in 2017, SLNA were the heavy favorites for this tie as they were chasing for that 4th title, which would make them the most successful team of the Vietnamese National Cup outright. However, the loss of a number of important key players during the run-up towards this match have affected SLNA quite significantly, coupled with the fact that they couldn’t field their foreigners against BRVT, who are more than determined to cause another upset in the competition. Soon enough, all notions of SLNA being the favorites were thrown out of the window after BRVT opened the scoring in the 17th minute thanks to Tran Dinh Bao, after the visitors have managed to keep their more illustrious opponents at bay during the opening stages of the match. And while it looks like that BRVT are going to retain their lead into half-time, SLNA scored their equalizer in the dying stages of the first half thanks to striker Ho Tuan Tai.
The second half was a more balanced affair, with both SLNA and BRVT exchanging blow after blow, but neither of them gained any sort of advantage over the other. The match ended 1-1 after 90 minutes, allowing players to rest and recuperate for a while before the dreaded penalty shootout. And it was BRVT who kept their calm during the shootout to emerge victorious, edging out SLNA 5-4 and claiming the scalp of yet another V.League 1 team. And while SLNA will be kicking themselves for losing this match and getting themselves eliminated from the Vietnamese National Cup so early in the competition, BRVT and their fans will be eager to find out who will be their next opponents in the next round, relishing to add more to their giant-killings.
Penalty shootouts also decided the outcome of the two other matches on Saturday, both of them affairs between V.League 1 teams. Last year’s V.League 1 third placers Than Quang Ninh huffed and puffed their way to the next round, edging out Duoc Nam Ha Nam Dinh 5-4 in penalties after a 2-2 draw at the Cam Pha Stadium in Quang Ninh Province. Jamaican duo Andre Fagan and Jeremie Lynch had given the Hero Miner a 2-0 lead late into the first half, however Nam Dinh’s Brazilian striker Rafaelson quickly cancelled the lead out with his brace, leading to a 2-2 stalemate that lasted through both half-time and full-time. In the end, V.League 1 legend Do Merlo fluffed his penalty for Nam Dinh, ensuring Quang Ninh passage to the next round.
Elsewhere at the Thong Nhat Stadium, current V.League 1 leaders Ho Chi Minh City FC take on SHB Da Nang and after a goalless 90 minutes, emerged out victorious in the ensuing penalty shootout. Bui Tien Dung was the hero for the Red Battleship as he saved two penalties, ensuring a 3-2 shootout win and a ticket to the next round for Ho Chi Minh City.