The penultimate round of the 2021 V.League 1’s first half was played out on Sunday, with Hanoi FC hosting strugglers Sai Gon FC at the Hang Day Stadium. Brazilian attacking midfielder Geovane managed to give his former side a nightmare to remember as he pulled off a superb performance to send Hanoi into a 3-1 victory over their visitors, bagging himself a brace in the process.
Snapped up from Sai Gon during the off-season, Geovane had a slow start to life in the capital however against his former team the Brazilian showed exactly why his departure was one of the reasons behind Sai Gon’s dramatic downfall this season. Thanks to Geovane’s audacious chip in the 2nd minute of the game, the Capital Team were able to snag themselves a quick 1-0 lead.
Nguyen Quang Hai almost made it 2-0 Hanoi in the 19th minute with a spectacular volley kick that struck the crossbar, before Sai Gon drew things level in the 28th minute. Cao Van Trien managed to send a long ball upfield towards Tran Manh Cuong, who slipped between two Hanoi defenders before slotting the ball home past an onrushing Bui Tan Truong.
Realizing that his new 3-4-3 formation isn’t working effectively, Hanoi head coach Park Choong-kyun decided to switch things up near the end of the first half, replacing Bui Hoang Viet Anh with Bruno Cantanhede as Hanoi shifted to a 4-3-3. However, despite this change in formation, the Capital Team almost conceded to Sai Gon at the start of the second half, after a careless pass from Tran Van Kien gave former Hanoi striker Papa Ibou Kebe an opportunity to threaten Tan Truong. Fortunately for the hosts, Tan Truong was on hand to deny the Frenchman.
Hanoi managed to regain the lead in the 66th minute and once again it was Geovane who went ahead and establish himself as a thorn for his former employers. After the Sai Gon defense had thwarted a Hanoi chance, the ball fell into the possession of Truong Van Thai Quy, who angled in a cross from the left flank that was headed into Pham Van Phong’s goal by Geovane.
Bruno then sealed all three points for Hanoi in the 80th minute, blasting home a header from Nguyen Van Quyet’s cross.
The 3-1 win allowed Hanoi to move up to 7th place in the V.League 1 table, with their chances of qualifying into the championship group for the league’s second half still well and truly alive. Sai Gon, on the other hand, are now second-bottom of the league and they are set for a place in the relegation group for the league’s second half.
League leaders Hoang Anh Gia Lai saw their 7-game winning streak being snapped as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Becamex Binh Duong at the Pleiku Stadium, while Song Lam Nghe An are set for the relegation group following their 1-0 defeat away at neighbors Dong A Thanh Hoa. Defending champions Viettel FC nicked a 2-1 win away at SHB Da Nang, while Ho Chi Minh City FC kept their championship group hopes alive by thrashing Hai Phong FC 3-0 at the Thong Nhat Stadium. 10-man Hong Linh Ha Tinh managed to keep their nerve and edge out Duoc Nam Ha Nam Dinh 3-2 at the Ha Tinh Stadium and last but not least both Topenland Binh Dinh and Than Quang Ninh played out a 1-1 draw at the Quy Nhon Stadium.
With only HAGL and Viettel occupying the championship group and SLNA and Sai Gon occupying the relegation group, the rest of the league still has plenty to play for in the last round of the league’s first half which will be played on May 7th.