Football Tribe SEA Editor
Ho Chi Minh City FC reclaimed their position in the 2020 V.League 1 summit after dispatching incumbent leaders Song Lam Nghe An 3-1 away at the Vinh Stadium. The hosts were undefeated and have yet to concede a goal in their previous 5 V.League 1 matches, however a confident performance from Ho Chi Minh City put an end to that record.
A bumper crowd was present at the Vinh Stadium, with enthusiastic locals scrambling to see their beloved SLNA in action. Once again relying on the prowesses of Phan Van Duc and Peter Samuel, SLNA set up themselves patiently as Ho Chi Minh City assumed control of the match, with the Red Battleship owning 65% of the ball in the first 20 minutes. Both sides had chances in the early stages of the match. Pape Diakite saw his header unable to meet its target for Ho Chi Minh City in the 4th minute, while in the 13th minute a shot from SLNA’s Tran Dinh Tien went wide.
In the 22nd minute, Dinh Tien once again threatened the Ho Chi Minh City defense after an excellent SLNA counterattack and even put the ball past Ho Chi Minh City goalie Nguyen Thanh Thang. However, the assistant referee ruled out Dinh Tien’s effort as he was offside.
Ho Chi Minh City then went on to apply pressure on the SLNA defense and the men in yellow buckled in the 29th minute. Former Celtic, PSM Makassar, and Persebaya Surabaya striker Amido Balde dispossessed an opposition player deep within SLNA’s half. The Guinea-Bissauan player then sent the ball forward towards Pham Van Thanh, who outmuscled SLNA defender Gustavo and fired a shot that went between the legs of SLNA goalkeeper Nguyen Van Hoang and into the goal. 1-0 Ho Chi Minh City and the bumper crowd at the Vinh Stadium was silenced.
SLNA reacted almost immediately to Van Thanh’s goal, with Peter Samuel’s shot going wide in the 32nd minute. Despite their excellent defensive record, SLNA had only scored 3 goals in the league so far, and their profligacy was on show as they searched for that equalizer.
The first half ends in Ho Chi Minh City’s advantage by a single goal.
In the second half, SLNA head coach Ngo Quang Truong sent Gambian striker Alagie Sosseh to enhance his team’s attacking capabilities. However, it was Ho Chi Minh City who went on the offensive with full gusto, with the Red Battleship doubling their lead in the 56th minute.
An excellent play between Vo Huy Toan and Nguyen Cong Phuong culminated in the latter scoring Ho Chi Minh City’s second of the game. Having been born in Nghe An Province and having spent a good chunk of his childhood there, Cong Phuong refused to celebrate his goal out of respect.
Ho Chi Minh City refused to let go of the gas after Cong Phuong’s goal and in the 61st minute, they tripled their lead. Taking advantage of a skirmish within the SLNA penalty box, Balde pounced upon the ball and slammed in Ho Chi Minh City’s third of the day. 3-0 and the Red Battleship were cruising at the Vinh Stadium.
SLNA did get themselves a consolation goal after a Gustavo header from close range went beyond Thanh Thang’s reach in the 89th minute, but the damage has already been done. Ho Chi Minh City will be pleased with the 3-1 victory that they’ve just got, as it meant that they’re now back on top of the V.League 1 summit at SLNA’s expense.
Other action from Tuesday night’s V.League 1 action saw hosts Viettel FC losing to Thanh Hoa FC at the Hang Day Stadium. The V.League 1’s all-time top scorer Hoang Vu Samson opened the account for Thanh Hoa in the 5th minute with a penalty, before former Chiangmai FC man Caique Lemes equalizes for Viettel in the 52nd minute. Le Van Thang had other things to say though and the striker sealed all three points for Thanh Hoa in the 65th minute. The 2-1 victory was Thanh Hoa’s second win in a row and Nguyen Thanh Cong’s charges found themselves 10th in the table, a sign that things are improving at the club underneath the new head coach.
Last but not least, Hai Phong FC managed to stave off their recent decline in form after a fine 2-0 win away at basement side Duoc Nam Ha Nam Dinh, with Joseph Mpande (40′) and Claudecir (87′) earning Hai Phong all three points.
Round 6 of the 2020 V.League 1 continues on Wednesday night, with defending champions Hanoi FC traveling to Binh Duong Province to take on in-form Becamex Binh Duong. SHB Da Nang host Hoang Anh Gia Lai at the Hoa Xuan Stadium, while Than Quang Ninh and Quang Nam FC lock horns at the Cam Pha Stadium. Last but not least, Sai Gon FC host Hong Linh Ha Tinh at the Thong Nhat Stadium in the late kick-off.