V.League organizers Vietnam Professional Football Joint Stock Company (VPF) conducted the draw for the 2021 Vietnamese National Cup on Tuesday. 27 teams – consisting of 14 V.League 1 teams and 13 V.League 2 teams – are set to contest the latest edition of Vietnam’s football cup competition and the draw for the first round provided promising ties for V.League 1 teams and potential upsets for V.League 2 teams.
Five teams were given the bye to the second round – defending champions Hanoi FC, runners-up Viettel FC, and last year’s semifinalists Than Quang Ninh and Ho Chi Minh City FC. Duoc Nam Ha Nam Dinh received the fifth and final bye into the second round by virtue of being the team selected to receive that bye from a random draw.
Having beaten Hanoi 3-0 in the opening day of the 2021 V.League 1 season, Nam Dinh could potentially square-off against their Northern Vietnam neighbors in the third round, as the two were placed in the same section of the tournament bracket. Nam Dinh will take on the winners of the tie between V.League 2 sides Khanh Hoa FC and Phu Tho FC in the second round, while Hanoi will challenge the winners of the tie between V.League 2’s Pho Hien FC and top flight Song Lam Nghe An in the same round and should the two clubs saw off their respective opponents, Hanoi will get a chance of avenging their humiliating opening day defeat in the third round.
In another section of the bracket, Viettel FC will await the winners of the first round tie between V.League 1 side Hai Phong FC and V.League 2 side Binh Phuoc FC in the second round. Last year’s giant-killers Ba Ria-Vung Tau are in the same section as well and the Southern Vietnam side are relishing another cup run this year as they were drawn against top flight SHB Da Nang in the first round. The winners of that tie will take on the winners between V.League 1’s Hoang Anh Gia Lai and V.League 2’s An Giang FC in the second round.
Ho Chi Minh City FC are relishing a prospect of a Ho Chi Minh City derby as their second round tie will have them take on the winners of the match between Hong Linh Ha Tinh of the V.League 1 and Ho Chi Minh City-based Cong An Nhan Dan of the V.League 2. Should CAND fall at the first hurdle, then Ho Chi Minh City would have to wait until the third round to get their derby match, and it promises to be a bigger one as Sai Gon FC were drawn in the same section as Ho Chi Minh City in the bracket.
In order to realize the dream of a Ho Chi Minh Derby in the third round, Sai Gon will have to prevail against recently relegated Quang Nam FC in the first round before taking out either Dak Lak FC or Dong A Thanh Hoa in the second round.
Last but not least, the final section of the bracket saw Quang Ninh awaiting the winners of the first round tie between V.League 1 side Topenland Binh Dinh and Long An FC of the V.League 2 in the second round. The other second round tie in the section will pit the winners of the first round tie between V.League 2 teams Phu Dong FC and Hue FC against the winners of the first round tie between XSKT Can Tho of the V.League 2 against Becamex Binh Duong of the V.League 1.
The first round of the 2021 Vietnamese National Cup will be played on April 9th, while the final will be played on September 30th.
Tuesday’s event also saw VPF conducting the draw for Round 1 of the V.League 2. 13 teams are set to compete in this year’s edition of Vietnam’s second-tier football league, one team short from the initial list of 14 teams. Two teams have decided to drop out of this year’s V.League 2 – Ho Chi Minh City-based Gia Dinh FC, who were promoted last year from the third tier, have decided to remain in their league for 2021 as their venue did not suit V.League 2 standards, and they were replaced by CAND whom Gia Dinh defeated to earn promotion last year.
Another team dropping out of the league were XM Fico Tay Ninh, whose finances had been severely affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The lack of funds from both their sponsors and the Tay Ninh Province government meant that Fico Tay Ninh were unable to obtain enough money to last an entire season, thus leading to their disbandment. Unlike Gia Dinh, Fico Tay Ninh were not replaced by another team by the VPF, leaving this year’s V.League 2 with just 13 teams.
The 2021 V.League 2 kicks-off on March 20th, with the final matches being played out on September 18th.