V.League: HCM City dethroned from top spot after unexpected loss

Monday, 2019-08-05 11:42:29
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HCM City (in red) could not utilise their 1-0 lead to secure an overall victory against Sanna Khanh Hoa BVN. (Photo: VPF)
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NDO – Ho Chi Minh (HCM) City have been dethroned from the V.League table’s top spot following their disappointing 1-2 home defeat against bottom-place Sanna Khanh Hoa BVN in their matchday 19 meeting, on August 4.

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Ismaheel opened the scoring for HCM City in the 37th minute, only to see his effort cancelled out five minutes later with Duy Thanh’s equaliser.

Although it appeared to be an overall 1-1 draw, Nguyen Trung Dai Duong headed home in the fifth minute of stoppage time to seal a much-needed victory for the Khanh Hoa team.

Ahead of the clash, HCM City lost their reign atop the table to direct competitors Hanoi FC who previously edged out Becamex Binh Duong 2-1 on home soil. However, a triumph over Sanna Khanh Hoa on Sunday would have helped Chung Hae-seong’s side regain their lead in the title race.

Given that fact, the hosts started the match at a high pace and produced constant threats throughout the first 15 minutes, with Hoang Thinh forcing keeper Tuan Manh to work hard to save his strike from 35 metres, in addition to Huynh Kesley’s close-range touch which was unexpectedly stopped by centre back Chaher.

After a bunch of wasted opportunities, HCM City finally broke the deadlock a few minutes from half-time, with Ismaheel taking the ball with his chest before blasting a long-range strike to beat the Khanh Hoa goalie.

However, the home side’s joy was short-lived as just three minutes later Duy Thanh shot past keeper Thanh Thang from a distance of 18 metres to earn Khanh Hoa a precious equaliser.

After the break, HCM City put up pressure and kept the ball constantly on the Khanh Hoa field.

Goalie Tuan Manh became the hero of Vo Dinh Tan’s side with a brilliant display, blocking a close-range touch by Cong Hien (46’), a header by substitute Hoang Thien (74’) and a cunning finish by Quang Nam (87’) to maintain the 1-1 score into stoppage time.

The wasted opportunities cost Ho Chi Minh City dearly, as Nguyen Trung Dai Duong headed home Patiyo’s cross just seconds before the final whistle to seal an amazing 2-1 victory for Sanna Khanh Hoa BVN.

As a result of their humiliating loss, HCM City again have to chase Hanoi FC in the title race, from two points behind. Meanwhile, the much-needed win allows Khanh Hoa to continue fostering their hopes of avoiding relegation at the end of the season.

Hoang Anh Gia Lai striker Van Toan in action during their match with Nam Dinh FC. (Photo: VPF)

The remaining V.League fixtures on Sunday ended up in draws, with Nam Dinh FC holding Hoang Anh Gia Lai 2-2 on home soil and Quang Ninh Coal playing out a 1-1 tie with SHB Da Nang.