Football Tribe SEA Editor
Veteran goalkeeper Bui Tan Truong returned to the ground where he once made a name for himself on Wednesday night, as defending champions Hanoi FC defeated hosts Becamex Binh Duong 2-0 at the Go Dau Stadium. Prior to moving to Hanoi this year, Tan Truong was a seasoned veteran for Binh Duong, being their custodian since 2014 until 2019. Together with Binh Duong, Tan Truong clocked up 95 league appearances and won two V.League 1 titles, two Vietnamese National Cup titles, and two Vietnamese Super Cup titles with the Southern Vietnam club.
Matches between Hanoi and Binh Duong were highly anticipated ties and this one was no exception. Over the years matches between the two have decided titles and prestige. Despite Binh Duong’s recent decline, the last matchup between the two was an exciting decider for the 2019 AFC Cup ASEAN Zone title, which Hanoi won. Both teams enter Wednesday’s 2020 V.League 1 Round 6 tie with fire in their eyes – Hanoi were seeking for redemption after their shock defeat to Song Lam Nghe An in Round 5, while Binh Duong were looking to continue their fine form that saw them sitting in the top half of the V.League 1 table.
With Moses Oloya still out, Hanoi head coach Chu Dinh Nghiem deployed Rimario Gordon as the only foreigner in his starting lineup. The likes of captain Nguyen Van Quyet, Do Hung Dung, and rising star Nguyen Quang Hai were also readily available for Dinh Nghiem, with Dau Van Toan also starting for the defending champions. Meanwhile, Binh Duong are going with their strongest lineup possible, with the likes of Ho Tan Tai, Hedipo, and Nguyen Tien Linh ready for the Southerners.
Both teams immediately went for the offensive once the referee blew for kick-off. In the 11th minute, Binh Duong captain To Van Vu set up Youssof Toure, however the former Sanna Khanh Hoa BVN man was stopped just in time by Tan Truong. Three minutes later it was Hanoi’s turn to carve a chance, with Bui Hoang Viet Anh’s close-range shot being caught by Binh Duong goalie Tran Duc Cuong.
In the 20th minute, Hanoi received a free-kick outside the left wing of Binh Duong’s penalty area. Van Quyet took the kick, which went straight towards Duc Cuong’s fists with the goalkeeper punching the ball skywards almost immediately.
With both teams exchanging blow after blow, there was an incident in the 26th minute that saw Hanoi’s Quang Hai colliding with Binh Duong’s Tien Linh. The incident left Quang Hai with a bloody forehead and he wore a bandage around his head for the remainder of the match.
In the 28th minute, Binh Duong’s Burkinabe defender Ali Rabo was adjudged to have fouled Van Quyet in the penalty area, much to the dismay of the Binh Duong players. After the Binh Duong players had unsuccessfully protested the referee’s decision, Rimario stepped up to the plate for Hanoi and coolly dispatches the penalty. 1-0 Hanoi and the defending champions have the advantage in this tie.
At the end of the first half, Rimario had a chance to double Hanoi’s lead after receiving a through pass from his teammate, only for his effort to be blocked by Duc Cuong’s body. The ball fell to Pham Thanh Luong, who in turn passed to Quang Hai who then provided the ball to Van Quyet. The Hanoi captain attempted a shot but it was blocked by a Binh Duong defender.
The first half ends in a 1-0 advantage to Hanoi.
Binh Duong started the second half with guns all blazing. More than determined to get that equalizer, they attempted to draw blood in the 47th minute through Tan Tai, only for Tran Van Kien to head away the incoming danger.
A minute after the hour-mark, Binh Duong attempted to break through Hanoi for that equalizer once again, with Nguyen Trung Dai Duong receiving the ball deep within Hanoi territory. The naturalized Nigeria-born player sent a long ball towards Tien Linh, who danced around the Hanoi defense with the ball. Tien Linh took advantage of Tan Truong who went out of his goal before firing off a shot that went agonizingly wide.
An incident in the 74th minute saw the referee pause play for a moment to allow Binh Duong to perform their substitutions. The Binh Duong coaching staff were intending to perform a triple substitution, taking advantage of the newly-introduced regulation that allows teams to substitute up to 5 players in a match within 3 opportunities. Binh Duong had already used up two of their opportunities to send in two new players and the Southerners were intending to finish their quota in their last opportunity. However, after two new players had come on, the referee restarted the match prematurely before the last substitution can be made, which angered the Binh Duong coaching staff and players.
And while tempers were flying high in the Binh Duong camp, the team’s assistant coach Nguyen Duc Canh displayed a particularly angry reaction to the referee’s decision, remonstrating repeatedly to the match officials and even forcing the match commissioner to come down to the Binh Duong dugout to calm things down. The whole incident caused the match to be halted for a few moments.
5 minutes after the incident, Viet Anh attempted to double Hanoi’s lead with a powerful close-ranged shot, with the ball having being provided to him from an excellent corner by Quang Hai. Duc Cuong was alert though and he immediately denied the shot with his body.
In the 84th minute, Binh Duong nearly grabbed that equalizer after Youssof’s free-kick was denied by the goalpost. But shortly after Youssof’s free-kick, another incident made itself known on the pitch that halted proceedings once again.
Three Hanoi players – Nguyen Thanh Chung, Nguyen Van Dung, and Nguyen Tuan Anh – needed medical attention. The referee paused the match, allowing the medical staff to assess the three players. But as the medical staff carried Tuan Anh on their stretcher, they carelessly threw the stretcher carrying Tuan Anh to the ground as the staff went on to check on the other Hanoi players’ condition, enraging both Quang Hai and Thanh Luong. This sparked an intense debate between the Hanoi players and the medical staff, as well as the intervening Binh Duong players.
Once both Hanoi and Binh Duong had cooled down their heads, the match soon resumed, with Youssof going off-target for Binh Duong. 9 minutes of injury time were added to the clock due to the two aforementioned incidents and Binh Duong were determined to get that all-important equalizer in that remaining time.
In the 97th minute, Rimario managed to lure Duc Cuong away from his goal, before the Jamaican swiftly passed the ball to an onrushing Van Quyet. The Hanoi captain headed the ball towards the empty net, only for a Binh Duong defender to make a last-gasp clearance. The ball wasn’t cleared away far enough though and it found its way to Quang Hai, who went around an incoming Duc Cuong before firing off a shot that went skywards.
There was no denying Hanoi in the dying minutes of the match though. Van Quyet went deep into Binh Duong’s defense with the ball, before passing it short towards Rimario. The Jamaican wasted no time in firing a powerful low shot that went into Binh Duong’s net, his fourth goal of the V.League 1 season. And with that the referee blew for full-time, confirming a hard-fought 2-0 win for Hanoi.
Wednesday’s other V.League 1 action saw SHB Da Nang continuing their upward trend, with Le Huynh Duc’s men beating Hoang Anh Gia Lai 3-1 at the Hoa Xuan Stadium in Da Nang. Than Quang Ninh also recorded a 3-1 win, emerging victorious over visiting Quang Nam FC at the Cam Pha Stadium. Last but not least, an 81st minute goal from Geovane ensured that Sai Gon FC are the only unbeaten team in the 2020 V.League 1 so far, salvaging a late 1-1 draw over newly promoted Hong Linh Ha Tinh at the Thong Nhat Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City.
With all Round 6 matches of the 2020 V.League 1 accounted for, Ho Chi Minh City FC resumed table-topping duties after their win over Song Lam Nghe An on Tuesday, having earned 13 points from their six matches. SLNA tailed behind the Red Battleship in 2nd place with 11 points, while Hanoi and Binh Duong rounded off the top four. Despite being unbeaten this season, Sai Gon’s four draws meant that they’re fifth on the table with 10 points, equal with both Hanoi and Binh Duong above them but with an inferior goals scored record.
Duoc Nam Ha Nam Dinh remained rooted to the bottom of the V.League 1 table with a measly 3 points, with 2017 V.League 1 champions Quang Nam one point above them. A series of plucky performances but with minimal results meant that Ha Tinh rounded off the league’s bottom three sides with six points, two points above Quang Nam.