V.League Preview: Waiting for two “final matches”

Monday, 2018-10-08 11:30:25
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Nam Dinh FC (in yellow) and XSKT Can Tho (in green) play out a goalless draw in the first leg of the 2018 V.League.
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NDO – The 2018 V.League will officially wrap up on October 8 with seven Round 26 matches at stadiums nationwide. All eyes will be put on the respective trips of Sanna Khanh Hoa and Nam Dinh FC to FLC Thanh Hoa and XSKT Can Tho, as these two games will decide the overall silver medalists as well as the owner of the automatic relegation ticket.

The two bottom teams, Nam Dinh FC and XSKT Can Tho, will head into a true “reverse final” at Can Tho stadium, because the losers will be relegated to the First Division tournament next year. Meanwhile, the winners of the clash will be awarded a place in the relegation playoff with the 2018 First Division runners-up, Hanoi B.

After 25 rounds of play, XSKT Can Tho are now standing at bottom with only 20 points. To avoid automatic relegation, manager Vu Quang Bao’s side will have no option but to bag the full three points against the guests this afternoon. On the opposite side, with a three-point advantage, manager Nguyen Van Sy’s players only need a draw to secure a playoff ticket and keep their hopes for a 2019 V.League berth alive.

Nam Dinh FC only need a draw to secure a place in the relegation playoff with Hanoi B.

Prior to the last-round encounter, Nam Dinh FC are showing a more stable form, having now gone four consecutive matches with just one loss. Meanwhile, XSKT Can Tho have conceded defeat in three of their last four league meetings.

Home-field advantage is the only thing that Vu Quang Bao’s troops can count on in the hopes of overcoming Nam Dinh FC to open the door to relegation escape. While Can Tho players are determined for a home win, defence is currently a headache problem for Nam Dinh manager Nguyen Van Sy. Accordingly, the V.League newbies are among the teams possessing the poorest defensive lines, as they have conceded up to 44 goals so far. Therefore, there is likelihood that manager Sy will direct his players to deploy solid defence against XSKT Can Tho this afternoon aiming to conclude the match in a draw.

FLC Thanh Hoa (in yellow) are on the verge of repeating their second-place finish as in last year's V.League.

FLC Thanh Hoa will take on Sanna Khanh Hoa BVN with their confidence strongly boosted by a six-game unbeaten run (five wins and one draw) in all fronts, including a commanding 4-0 triumph over Song Lam Nghe An in the second-leg National Cup semi-final, which has gifted them the first place in the final match. A Round 26 victory will help manager Nguyen Duc Thang’s side to repeat their runner-up finish last season. They are holding a huge advantage towards making the goal come true, as their opponents, Sanna Khanh Hoa, lack the service of No. 1 keeper Tuan Manh this afternoon for his full three yellow cards.

Regardless of their man disadvantage, Sanna Khanh Hoa, the “dark horse” of the 2018 V.League, will need only a draw to come out as the overall runners-up this season, following their 3-1 victory against Thanh Hoa in the first leg of the tournament. With both sides seizing their own advantages and full determination, FLC Thanh Hoa and Sanna Khanh Hoa are expected to devote an extremely thrilling and interesting clash to fans in the last round today.

Despite having officially lifted the 2018 V.League trophy in Round 25, newly crowned Hanoi FC will surely set the highest goal for their trip to Hai Phong FC this afternoon, aiming to continue further breaking the total points record in V.League history.

The matches of the 2018 V.League Round 26.

VAN TOAN