Football Tribe SEA Editor
Monday’s V.League 1 action saw two form sides, Thanh Hoa FC and SHB Da Nang, clashing against one another in a Round 8 tie at the Thanh Hoa Stadium. Both teams were in good form coming into Monday’s encounter, having both recovered from horrendous starts to the season. Visitors Da Nang were undefeated in their last four games, while Thanh Hoa were experiencing a renaissance of some sorts underneath head coach Nguyen Thanh Cong. With the guidance of the former Sai Gon FC head coach, Thanh Hoa were also undefeated in their last four games, winning three out of those four games.
With Vietnam national team head coach Park Hang-seo in attendance, Da Nang started off the game brightly. In the 3rd minute, Nguyen Tai Loc fired a long-range shot that was parried away by Thanh Hoa goalkeeper Nguyen Thanh Diep.
In the 22nd minute, it was Thanh Hoa’s turn to threaten the Da Nang defense. Nguyen Huu Dung performed a long throw that fell onto the feet of Hoang Dinh Tung, who attempted to fire off a shot from point-blank range almost immediately. Da Nang goalie Nguyen Tuan Manh was alert though and he deflected the incoming threat away. A few minutes later Dinh Tung once again threatened the Da Nang goal with a shot, but once again Tuan Manh was on hand to deny the 31-year old striker.
Tuan Manh was on excellent form throughout the first half and he once again came to Da Nang’s rescue in the 29th minute. Hoang Vu Samson attempted a volley after beating the Da Nang defense, however the ball went straight into Tuan Manh’s waiting hands.
Only one minute after Samson’s chance, Da Nang carved out a chance of their own, with Phan Van Long firing off a powerful shot that went over the Thanh Hoa goal. Le Huynh Duc’s men then got an opportunity to try things again in the 35th minute, with Tran Dinh Hoang delivering an excellent cross towards Grace Tanda. Unfortunately, the Swedish-Congolese player’s header went off target.
Da Nang then got the perfect opportunity to open the scoreline in the 43rd minute, after the referee had awarded them a penalty. The penalty was given after Thanh Hoa’s Le Pham Thanh Long had inadvertently handled the ball in the penalty area in his attempt to clear the ball away. Ha Duc Chinh was tasked with taking the penalty and he made no mistake from 12 yards out. 1-0 Da Nang and it stayed that way as the referee blew for half-time.
Three minutes into the second half, Da Nang doubled their advantage. Da Nang captain Dang Anh Tuan pumped the ball forward towards Tanda, who used his pace to blaze his way into the Thanh Hoa defense. With Thanh Hoa pushing their defenders forward and leaving too much space within their own half, Thanh Diep rushed out of his goal in a last-gasp attempt to stop Tanda. The attacker took advantage of this though and he dinked the ball above Thanh Diep’s head. With the goalkeeper well beaten, the ball did not face any resistance as it rolled its way into the Thanh Hoa goal, making it 2-0 Da Nang.
With his team two goals down, Thanh Hoa head coach Thanh Cong decided to make a change in his line of defense, replacing Thanh Diep with 19-year old youngster Trinh Xuan Hoang. However, a change of custodian did nothing to do Thanh Hoa good, as they found themselves 3-0 down in the 64th minute. Da Nang caught Thanh Hoa on the counter, with Tanda once again using that pace of his to push his way into the Thanh Hoa defense with the ball. Xuan Hoang rushed out of his goal to block Tanda, assuming that the Swede would shoot directly at him, but Tanda instead crossed the ball towards Duc Chinh, who completed his brace with a simple header into the empty goal.
Being three goals to the good did not decrease Da Nang’s attacking intensity and in the 70th minute, they attempted to chase for a fourth goal. Substitute A Mit attempted a shot only moments after coming on, only for Xuan Hoang to parry it away with his hands.
Thanh Hoa came close to grabbing a consolation goal three times late in the second half. In the 76th minute, Le Van Thang fired off a long-range shot that hit the crossbar, before moments afterward Croatian defensive midfielder Josip Balic attempted another long-range shot that went over the Da Nang goal. Last but not least, in the 80th minute, a pass from Balic found Samson, who used his body to push the ball towards the Da Nang goal. Tuan Manh was beaten, however, Dinh Hoang made the last-ditch clearance to ensure that Da Nang would still keep their clean sheet.
The match ended in a 3-0 victory for Da Nang, which extended their unbeaten run to 5 matches at the expense of Thanh Hoa’s own unbeaten streak.
Meanwhile, at the Pleiku Stadium, Jamaican striker Chevaughn Walsh was once again on target for Hoang Anh Gia Lai as they ran out 1-0 winners over Hong Linh Ha Tinh, while both Than Quang Ninh and Duoc Nam Ha Nam Dinh played out a dramatic match at Quang Ninh’s Cam Pha Stadium which saw Quang Ninh emerging out 3-2 winners thanks to a last-minute goal from Giang Tran Quach Tan. Last but not least, former Kalteng Putra striker Hedipo scored a first-half brace as his Becamex Binh Duong side stunned Ho Chi Minh City FC 2-1 away at the Thong Nhat Stadium in a Southern Vietnam derby, with Nguyen Cong Phuong scoring a 77th minute consolation for the Red Battleship.
The conclusion of Round 8 saw Sai Gon returning to the 2020 V.League 1 summit with 16 points and the distinction of being the only undefeated team in the league so far this season. Ho Chi Minh City dropped down to second place with 14 points. Binh Duong and Quang Ninh rounded off the top four with 14 and 13 points respectively. Meanwhile, at the other end of the table, Quang Nam’s second win of the season, a 2-1 home win over Song Lam Nghe An on Sunday, has lifted the 2017 V.League 1 champions off the foot of the table, with Nam Dinh replacing them. Nam Dinh propped up the V.League 1 table after Round 8’s matches with 6 points, with both Quang Nam and Ha Tinh above them in 13th and 12th respectively, the two teams both having 7 points to their names.