Southeast Asia Vietnam

Thanh Hoa Made Hanoi Pay the Penalty in Cup Final

Dong A Thanh Hoa have successfully retained their Vietnamese National Cup crown after they had beaten Hanoi FC 9-8 on penalties in Sunday’s final at the Thanh Hoa Stadium.

After a goalless 90 minutes, the 2023/24 cup final went straight to penalties as the decider, where both Joel Tagueu and Nguyen Van Quyet had their attempts saved by Trinh Xuan Hoang, with the Thanh Hoa goalkeeper channeling his inner Bruce Grobbelaar to taunt his Hanoi opposition during the shootout.

Velizar Popov’s men came into Sunday’s clash without Popov himself, who had to watch the match from the stands due to a suspension, while key striker Rimario Gordon was also unavailable through suspension. Assistant coaches Mai Xuan Hop and Nguyen Thanh Dung took over duties from Popov for this match, while Brazilian midfielder Luiz Antonio filled in Rimario’s position as a false nine.

The match itself was a cagey affair, with Thanh Hoa carving up a chance as early as the 7th minute. Antonio received an excellent cross from A Mit and has Nguyen Van Hoang’s goal at his mercy, only for the Brazilian to head his attempt wide.

Antonio’s attempt was the only fruitful chance from either team in the opening 20 minutes, however the next 25 minutes saw both sides creating opportunities aplenty. Hanoi’s Nguyen Van Truong and Nguyen Hai Long combined excellently in the 25th minute to feed Pham Xuan Manh with the ball, however the defender’s shot struck Thanh Hoa defender Nguyen Thanh Long, which allowed Xuan Hoang to collect the ball safely.

Both Van Quyet and Tim Hall went close for Hanoi in the ensuing minutes, before both Antonio and Doan Ngoc Tran almost gave Thanh Hoa the lead in the 38th minute.

The second half saw Hanoi mounting an assault on the resilient Thanh Hoa defense, with the Lam Son Warriors retaliating by performing counterattacks aimed straight at the Capital Team.

However, in the end, no goals were scored throughout the remainder of the match and with no extra time being played, the match went straight into penalties.

Hanoi went up first through Dau Van Toan and scored, before Antonio dispatched Thanh Hoa’s first penalty. Do Hung Dung then gave Hanoi a 2-1 lead, before Thanh Hoa’s Hoang Dinh Tung made it 2-2.

Nguyen Van Tung then made it 3-2 for Hanoi, before goalkeeper Van Hoang denied Le Thanh Binh from the spot, giving the Capital Team the advantage.

Subsequent takers then successfully took their penalties and as Cameroonian striker Tagueu stepped up to the plate, Hanoi held a slender 4-3 lead over their opponents. Despite Tagueu’s best efforts, however, Xuan Hoang was quick on his feet and blocked the incoming shot, giving Thanh Hoa a lifeline.

The shootout then continued as each taker from Hanoi and Thanh Hoa succeeded in their assignments, leaving the scores tied at 8-8. Hanoi captain Van Quyet, a player who had missed each of his last two penalty attempts in the league, then made his way to the spot. The veteran striker, with over 200 appearances for Hanoi underneath his belt, did little to fix his penalty reputation as his attempt was easily saved by Xuan Hoang.

This sets the stage for Hoang Thai Binh to coolly slot home the winning penalty from the spot, securing Thanh Hoa’s second Vietnamese National Cup title.

As cup winners, Thanh Hoa have qualified to the 2024/25 AFC Champions League Two alongside league champions Thep Xanh Nam Dinh. This will be Thanh Hoa’s second appearance in AFC competitions, having taken part in the 2018 AFC Cup while they were still known as FLC Thanh Hoa.