V.League 1 giants Hanoi FC were on the verge of a shock home defeat at the hands of bottom-of-the-league Hong Linh Ha Tinh on Monday night’s Round 6 encounter, however the Capital Team had Geovane to thank as his 90th minute equalizer ensures that Chu Dinh Nghiem’s charges would have a point to their name at the end of the match.
Hanoi welcome Ha Tinh to the Hang Day Stadium on Monday with the home side being affected by a series of injuries keeping a number of players out of the team, however on paper the Capital Team should have more than enough in their disposal to see off a Ha Tinh side sitting bottom of the V.League 1 table. However, Ha Tinh were in good spirits having gone unbeaten in their last two matches, drawing 0-0 with league leaders Hoang Anh Gia Lai in Round 4 before beating Hai Phong FC 1-0 in Round 5, the first points that Ha Tinh have earned this season.
After a poignant buildup to the match that saw tributes being paid by both Hanoi and Ha Tinh supporters to Hanoi midfielder Do Hung Dung, who had his season ended prematurely in Round 5 after suffering a broken leg, the Hang Day public was soon silenced in the 6th minute after Ha Tinh unexpectedly took the lead. Ismahil Akinade laid the ball off towards strike partner Pham Tuan Hai, who had a pop from outside the area. The ball curved its way past Hanoi’s veteran goalkeeper Bui Tan Truong and into the bottom left corner of the goal, giving Ha Tinh the early advantage.
Immediately after taking the lead Ha Tinh went into defensive mode, knowing all too well the damage Hanoi could do with the firepower at their disposal as Ha Tinh head coach Pham Minh Duc took a more pragmatic approach to the game. Despite this, Ha Tinh still committed plenty of mistakes on the pitch that the Hanoi players fail to take advantage of, with the home side’s attackers looking wasteful in front of goal.
Ha Tinh’s counters provided the away side with some forays to Tan Truong’s goal, with Tran Phi Son firing straight at the goalkeeper and Tuan Hai seeing his shot going over the goal. Hanoi also had their own chances throughout the first half, with the likes of Ngan Van Dai, Pham Huc Duy, Geovane, and Do Duy Manh threatening Duong Quang Tuan in the Ha Tinh goal.
The second half saw Dinh Nghiem introduce Pham Thanh Luong and Nguyen Quang Hai into the fray to chase the game, the latter returning from a spell in the sidelines due to injury. The introduction of fresh legs reinvigorated Hanoi however it took them until the 90th minute to finally beat Quang Tuan. A Moses Oloya free-kick was played into the Ha Tinh box, with Duy Manh receiving the ball from the Ugandan. Duy Manh passed it short to Le Van Xuan, who attempted to finish things off from close-range. Quang Tuan and a Ha Tinh defender managed to deflect Van Xuan’s effort away, however the ball fell into the path of Geovane, who stabbed home Hanoi’s equalizer past Quang Tuan.
The 1-1 draw was a result that benefitted both sides considering the other results of Round 6 – Ha Tinh managed to move off last place in the league table while Hanoi are in 4th place, their eyes primed at the league’s top three with two points separating the Capital Team from both Than Quang Ninh and SHB Da Nang who occupy 2nd and 3rd place respectively.
Monday’s other Round 6 results saw a Rafaelson hat-trick condemning Dong A Thanh Hoa to last place in the V.League 1 table, with Da Nang triumphing 3-1 at the Thanh Hoa Stadium, while both Topenland Binh Dinh and Becamex Binh Duong share the spoils with a 0-0 draw at the Quy Nhon Stadium.
There was also news that came out from the Sai Gon FC camp on Monday night, with head coach Masahiro Shimoda stepping down from his role, having been recently appointed to the position during the Lunar New Year break. The former Renofa Yamaguchi head coach have failed to win any of his three matches with Sai Gon, losing 1-0 to city rivals Ho Chi Minh City FC and Southern Vietnam rivals Binh Duong before a humiliating 3-0 home defeat at the hands of Duoc Nam Ha Nam Dinh prompted Shimoda to file in his resignation.
Replacing Shimoda in the Sai Gon hot seat will be longtime assistant coach Phung Thanh Phuong.