Football Tribe SEA Editor
The Northeast Derby between hosts Hai Phong FC and Than Quang Ninh headlined Wednesday night’s 2020 V.League 1 fifth round clashes and it was visitors Quang Ninh who emerged out victorious, edging out their rivals in a tightly-contested 1-0 win.
For Wednesday’s derby clash, Quang Ninh fielded their strongest possible lineup, which included Jamaican strikers Jeremie Lynch and Diego Fagan, both of whom were on loan at Quang Ninh from Hai Phong. The visitors were missing vice-captain Nguyen Hai Huy, who suffered a heavy injury in Quang Ninh’s home defeat at the hands of Hong Linh Ha Tinh earlier this month. Replacing Hai Huy in the midfield is young Nguyen Hai Long. Hai Phong were also able to field their strongest possible lineup, led by captain Joseph Mpande and including the likes of Claudecir, Doan Ngoc Tan, goalkeeper Nguyen Van Toan, and Vietnamese-German defender Adriano Schmidt.
Cheered on by their passionate supporters at the Lach Tray Stadium, Hai Phong assumed immediate control of the match, limiting Quang Ninh’s attacking opportunities. Both Jeremie and Diego were unable to pry through Hai Phong’s tight defense, while Nghiem Xuan Tu was unable to create anything from the right wing due to Nguyen Huu Phuc’s hard work in limiting the attacking midfielder’s movement.
Despite their profligacy up front, Quang Ninh’s defense were also as disciplined in their work as their counterparts, despite the absence of Bosnian defender Neven Lastro. Both Le The Quong and Claudecir worked hard in breaking through Quang Ninh’s back-line, with the latter spurning a golden chance in the 21st minute after seeing his header being caught easily by Quang Ninh goalie Huynh Tuan Linh.
There were no goals scored in the first half as the referee blew for half-time.
As the second half went underway, Hai Phong retained the same intensity that they had in the first half. In the 62nd minute, Mpande sent the ball towards Claudecir, who in turn teed up The Quong. Unfortunately for Hai Phong, Tuan Linh beat The Quong to the punch and smothered the ball, denying Hai Phong the opener. A minute later Claudecir was at it again, sending a pass to Mpande before the Ugandan proceeded to fire a shot that went straight into Tuan Linh’s hands.
Realizing the ineffectiveness of both Jeremie and Diego at their old stomping ground, Quang Ninh head coach Phan Thanh Hung made the bold decision of substituting the Jamaican duo off in the 65th minute, with Giang Tran Quach Tan and Ho Hung Quong replacing them.
The introduction of both Quach Tan and Hung Quong sparked Quang Ninh into life and in the 71st minute the Hero Miner drew blood, much to the shock and horror of Hai Phong and their supporters. Xuan Tu made a cross from the right wing towards Hung Quong, who positioned himself close to Adriano Schmidt. Schmidt tried his best in stopping Hung Quong, but instead the ball went off the Vietnamese-German defender’s foot and into Van Toan’s net. 1-0 and second-best Quang Ninh gained the lead thanks to Schmidt’s own-goal.
The goal invigorated Quang Ninh’s spirits and in the 77th minute they caught Hai Phong on the counter. Quach Tan’s effort was parried away by Van Toan, before Xuan Tu fluffed the rebound over the crossbar. Hai Phong were not without their chances as well, with the likes of Mpande threatening the Quang Ninh defense in search of that all-important equalizer. Unfortunately, despite Hai Phong’s best efforts, Quang Ninh did well to hang on for the 1-0 win.
Elsewhere on Wednesday, Becamex Binh Duong paid Quang Nam a visit at the Tam Ky Stadium, returning home with all three points thanks to a 2-1 away win. Quang Nam took the lead first thanks to an 8th minute goal from Nguyen Hoang Quoc Chi, however Binh Duong did well to fight back, equalizing in the 23rd minute thanks to Nguyen Tien Linh, before former Kalteng Putra man Hedipo sealed the win for Binh Duong in the 79th minute.
Last but not least, rounding off Wednesday’s action was an intriguing top-half clash at the Thong Nhat Stadium, where Ho Chi Minh City play host to Viettel FC. Despite not playing their best brand of football, Ho Chi Minh City took the lead in the 26th minute thanks to an effort from Seo Yong-duk, before going rampant in the 2nd half and burying Viettel with a quick salvo of goals from Nguyen Cong Phuong (62′) and Vo Huy Toan (67′). The 3-0 win propelled Ho Chi Minh City up to 2nd in the league with 10 points, trailing new league leaders Binh Duong on goal difference.