V.League Preview: Hanoi FC look to solidify league reign

Friday, 2018-05-18 16:29:47
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Van Quyet and Quang Hai are among Hanoi FC's attack spearheads.
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NDO – Hanoi FC will look to extend their unbeaten run in the 2018 V.League with a comfortable victory in their eighth-round trip to newly promoted Nam Dinh FC’s Thien Truong stadium on May 20.

Chu Dinh Nghiem’s side is demonstrating extremely impressive form since the beginning of the season. After the first seven games, the 2016 champions remain the only team yet to taste defeat, as they have won five matches and drawn just two.

Meanwhile, Nam Dinh FC are currently rooted at the bottom of the V.League table with just four points. Despite failing to lift them out of the relegation zone, the surprising 1-0 win against Song Lam Nghe An in the last round of play helped the V.League newbies to quench their thirst for a triumph following a series of six clashes without winning and reclaimed some much needed confidence for the remaining stages of their league campaign.

Inspirational as their first V.League victory might be, securing even a point against in-form Hanoi FC this weekend is an almost impossible mission for Nam Dinh manager Nguyen Van Sy and his players. The capital team currently possess the most dangerous attacking line in this year’s V.League, including domestic strikers Van Quyet and Quang Hai, and especially Nigerian forward Ganiyu Bolayi Oseni, who is dominating the “top scorer” title race with ten goals, six clear of the runner-up, Patiyo Tambwe of XSKT Can Tho. With their superior power and experience, Chu Dinh Nghiem’s side are aiming towards the full three points at Thien Truong stadium on Sunday to continue extend their unbeaten streak and consolidate their reign on top of the provisional standings.

Hanoi's Nigerian striker Oseni is leading the "top scorer" race with ten goals.

After three consecutive draws, Hoang Anh Gia Lai are craving a victory this weekend to boost their fighting spirit.

In the seventh round, the Gia Lai team had the chance to bag the full three points against Sanna Khanh Hoa with a 71st-minute opener. However, they could not preserve that advantage until the final whistle and had to accept a 1-1 draw overall.

The tie scenario continued to happen to manager Duong Minh Ninh’s side later as they drew 2-2 on their home field and 1-1 away against Hanoi FC in the two legs of the Vietnamese National Cup quarterfinals, in which the away goals rule forced them to concede the semifinal ticket to the capital team.

At the moment, Cong Phuong and his teammates need to set aside their disappointments and focus their energy on the V.League front, as they are travelling to fifth-placed XSKT Can Tho in the eighth round on May 19. Last season, Hoang Anh Gia Lai trounced Can Tho 3-0 at home, but lost by the same score while playing guest to the Mekong Delta team. With a fragile gap of only one point between the two teams at present, tomorrow’s away match will be an opportunity for Duong Minh Ninh’s side to level the deficit and even surpass XSKT Can Tho in the V.League table.

After qualifying for the semifinals of the 2018 Vietnamese National Cup, FLC Thanh Hoa, managed by Nguyen Duc Thang, are now full of confidence ahead of their trip to Quang Ninh Coal on Sunday in a centre-stage match of the eighth round.

Quang Ninh Coal will lack the service of key player Mac Hong Quan (in blue) while playing host to FLC Thanh Hoa this weekend.

Despite the lack of many key players for the 2018 season, Quang Ninh Coal are still flying high in the V.League table, standing in second place with 14 points, only three points away from the leaders, Hanoi FC. However, this weekend, manager Phan Thanh Hung’s side will be challenged by a really tough opponent in the title race, FLC Thanh Hoa.

Following a poor start to the season, Thanh Hoa decided to dismiss their Romanian manager, Marian Mihail, and have appointed domestic trainer, Nguyen Duc Thang, as a replacement. In his first match with Thanh Hoa, Nguyen Duc Thang did not come away completely happy as the central team were held to a draw by Saigon FC, which were formerly coached by him. The recent feat of making the National Cup semifinals is expected to give a strong boost to FLC Thanh Hoa’s confidence ahead of their trip to Cam Pha stadium. Receiving Thanh Hoa on their home field this weekend, manager Phan Thanh Hung’s Quang Ninh Coal will lack the service of many key players, including Nguyen Hai Huy, Thanh Hien, and Mac Hong Quan (currently under suspension). Meanwhile, with the strongest lineup in hand, FLC Thanh Hoa will undoubtedly be determined to leave Cam Pha stadium with the full three points to affirm their comeback in this year’s title race.

The clash between SHB Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City also promises to be fierce. SHB Da Nang are experiencing a series of disappointing results, losing five games and collecting only one win in the past six matches. Regarding the V.League arena alone, manager Nguyen Minh Phuong’s side have now gone three games without securing a single point. The same situation is also happening to HCM City, as they are deeply immersed in crisis with three consecutive defeats. An eighth-round win will be much needed for both sides in their efforts to spark the hopes for the future stage of the 2018 V.League.