Southeast Asia Vietnam

Viet Anh the Difference as Hanoi Clinch Third Straight Super Cup Title

Defender Bui Hoang Viet Anh was the hero for Hanoi FC as his second-half goal clinched the men in purple their third straight Vietnamese Super Cup title, seeing off Viettel FC 1-0 in the latest edition of the Capital Derby at Hanoi’s Hang Day Stadium on Saturday. The triumph meant that Chu Dinh Nghiem’s men have won a hat-trick of Vietnamese Super Cup titles, having won the competition in 2019 and 2020 as well.

2020 V.League 1 champions Viettel are making their first Vietnamese Super Cup appearance since the inaugural edition of the competition in 1999, while 2020 V.League 1 runners-up and 2020 Vietnamese National Cup champions Hanoi are making their third straight appearance in the competition. Hanoi are gunning for a fourth title that would equal both Song Lam Nghe An and Becamex Binh Duong’s achievements in the competition, with the duo being the Super Cup’s most successful teams, while Viettel are looking for a second title in their first Vietnamese Super Cup bow in 21 years.

Both Hanoian teams had done some changes in their personnel during the off-season, with Viettel losing their top scorer Bruno Cantanhede who crossed the divide to Hanoi. Despite the loss of their most influential player, Viettel managed to act quickly and brought in Pedro Paulo from Sai Gon FC to replace him, with Pedro being one of the 2020 V.League 1’s joint-Golden Boot winners. Pedro will face-off against his former Sai Gon teammate in Geovane at the Hang Day, with the Brazilian being one of the two new foreigners brought in by the men in purple during the off-season alongside Bruno.

Viettel head coach Truong Viet Hoang was deprived of the services of both captain Bui Tien Dung and vice-captain Que Ngoc Hai in the buildup towards this year’s Super Cup, meaning that he had to call upon Luizao and Nguyen Duc Chien to fill in the void. Viet Hoang also gave Nguyen Huu Thang his competitive debut for Viettel, with the club’s academy graduate having produced a string of excellent performances while out on loan at Binh Dinh FC in the 2020 season. The Vietnam U-22 national team player will act as the number 10 role in Viet Hoang’s lineup, just behind lone striker Pedro.

Dinh Nghiem, on the other hand, gave both Bruno and Geovane their Hanoi debuts, while familiar faces in Nguyen Van Quyet, Nguyen Quang Hai, and Do Hung Dung adorn a powerful-looking Hanoi lineup for Saturday’s showdown.

The first half proved to be a cagey affair as in recent Capital Derbies, with an volley from Van Quyet missing its target and Hanoi goalkeeper Nguyen Van Cong doing well to smother a shot from Nguyen Trong Hoang. Pedro smacked a Viettel free-kick over the crossbar, while Bruno hits the woodwork right at the end of the first half.

The first 45 ended in a goalless stalemate, with both Hanoian teams having yet to find a breakthrough.

Viettel flew straight out of the traps at the start of the second stanza with the Red Tornado creating two dangerous chances in quick succession. Tran Ngoc Son’s horizontal sweep was broken up by the Hanoi midfield, while another free-kick from Pedro went straight towards Van Cong’s awaiting gloves.

Gradually Hanoi grew themselves into the game once again and in the 65th minute they had two consecutive chances to open the scoreline. Van Quyet poked the ball towards Geovane, whose shot struck Viettel goalkeeper Tran Nguyen Manh by the boot. Shortly afterwards, Geovane managed to gain possession of the ball and launched a cross into the box, where it was met by a powerful header from Van Quyet. Unfortunately for Hanoi, the ball went over Nguyen Manh’s goal and into touch.

Hanoi kept on applying the pressure and in the 73rd minute, their patience was rewarded. A Viettel defender was unable to clear the ball far enough, allowing Quang Hai to collect the ball and launched it forward towards Van Quyet. Van Quyet then launched a diagonal pass towards an onrushing Geovane, who deceived his marker and passed it short towards Viet Anh. Wasting no time, Viet Anh unleashed a close-ranged shot that went beyond Nguyen Manh’s reaches, giving Hanoi the lead that they had been seeking for.

Controversy broke out in the 75th minute and once again Viet Anh was in the centre of it. Whilst trying to clear the ball away, Viet Anh was adjudged to had made contact with the ball using his hand, prompting the Viettel players to swarm the referee in an attempt to claim a penalty kick for their side. Normally this would warrant a penalty, however new FIFA rules that had gone into effect since the 2020-21 season stipulate that should one had made direct contact first with the ball using their head, feet, or body before the ball made contact with an elbow, arm, or hand, a penalty won’t be given as it is possible that the situation was unintentional.

Replays suggest that the ball had made contact with Viet Anh’s boot before bouncing upwards and striking his hand, should the other way round happened, then the referee was obliged to award Viettel a penalty. However ,as the ball had touched Viet Anh’s boot first, the referee waved for play to continue on despite the Viettel players’ protests.

Unwilling to let the controversy distract them for too long, Viettel pushed forward for an equalizer. In the 84th minute, the Red Tornado had their best chance of forcing a draw after Trong Hoang managed to squeeze his way past Hanoi defender Nguyen Thanh Chung. However, instead of passing the ball towards a teammate in a more favorable position, Trong Hoang decided to go all out and fired off a shot, which went off-target much to Trong Hoang and his teammates’ dismay.

In the end, there was no denying Hanoi as they emerged out 1-0 winners from the latest Capital Derby, hoisting up their third-consecutive Vietnamese Super Cup title as a result. The hat-trick of Super Cup wins meant that Hanoi have matched SLNA and Binh Duong as being the most successful team in the history of the competition, with the three teams having four titles each.

Both Viettel and Hanoi won’t have long to rest as the 2021 V.League 1 season kicks-off in January 15th, with Hanoi traveling to Duoc Nam Ha Nam Dinh on that date. Viettel will start their league title defense at home against Hai Phong FC on January 16th.