V.League preview: Fierce races remain despite Hanoi FC’s early crown

Thursday, 2018-09-13 16:35:18
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Sanna Khanh Hoa (in yellow) are longing for a win against Hanoi FC to consolidate their second place in the provisional V.League table.
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NDO – The 2018 V.League title race has come to an end, as Hanoi FC have been crowned champions with five games in hand. However, the 22nd round this weekend still promises exciting matches in the races to claim the silver and bronze medals, as well as to escape relegation.

* Hanoi crowned champions of 2018 V-League

* V.League Review: Hanoi FC make history with early title

Substitute Hoang Vu Samson netted twice as Hanoi FC beat Song Lam Nghe An 2-0 in the previous round to become the earliest team in V.League history to win the championship crown. Manager Chu Dinh Nghiem’s side have freed them from pressure in the V.League and can now make appropriate calculations in terms of tactics and men in service of another important goal, the National Cup trophy.

Although the capital team have fulfilled their title mission, their attitude in the last five league matches of the season will pose remarkable impacts on the overall standings. Immediately, the newly crowned champions will play away to second-placed Sanna Khanh Hoa BVN in one of the most anticipated Round 22 clashes on September 14.

The two teams will head into the match at Nha Trang Stadium with opposite targets and motivations. With Hanoi FC having no more goals on the V.League front, Sanna Khanh Hoa are longing for a win aiming to consolidate their runner-up position in the provisional table. There is a great likelihood that the guests will rest an array of key players to give a chance to young players. This could be considered good news for manager Vo Dinh Tan’s side in their bid to bag the full three points at home tomorrow. Nonetheless, it will not be so easy for Sanna Khanh Hoa to realise their ambition, because as the title holders, Hanoi FC will surely not want to let their hard-built image to deteriorate in the remaining matches of this year’s V.League.

Given the respective gaps of five and six points from second-placed Sanna Khanh Hoa, FLC Thanh Hoa and Song Lam Nghe An need to convert their home-field advantage into victories as they host “moderate” opponents, Nam Dinh FC and SHB Da Nang, this weekend.

The task seems to be much easier for Thanh Hoa rather than for the Nghe An team, as newly promoted Nam Dinh are now struggling in the second last position in the provisional standings with only 18 points. The Round 22 encounter against the V.League newbies will be a golden chance for manager Nguyen Duc Thang’s side to win the full three points, thus allowing them to continue chasing Khanh Hoa in the race for the overall silver medal. As for Nam Dinh FC, this will be a must-win match if manager Nguyen Van Sy’s side wish to foster any hopes of retaining a place in the country’s top-tier football league next year.

Bottom-placed XSKT Can Tho will play host to 2017 champions Quang Nam FC on Saturday. Despite failing to repeat last year’s exceptional form, Quang Nam, currently sixth with 27 points, still prove to be a tough test for manager Vu Quang Bao’s players. However, there is now no way out for Can Tho other than trying their best for a home-field victory, because a defeat, or even a draw, will cause the currently narrow door to the 2019 V.League to become narrower for Bao’s side.