V.League preview: Difficulties anticipated for Viettel as newbies lose pillars for HAGL trip

Friday, 2019-08-09 10:35:30
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Hoang Anh Gia Lai (in white) beat Viettel (in red) with three unanswered goals in the first leg of the V.League 2019.
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NDO – Newly promoted Viettel are predicted to face numerous difficulties on matchday 20 of the 2019 V.League when they lose two important centre backs, Bui Tien Dung and Janclesio Santos, for the away meeting with Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) later this afternoon (August 9).

The clash at Pleiku Stadium is the earliest match and one of the centre-stage fixtures of matchday 20.

The latest 1-3 defeat against Song Lam Nghe An (SLNA) pushed Viettel down to eighth place in the table. Meanwhile, an impressive four-game unbeaten run, with the brilliant showings of Xuan Truong, Van Toan and Minh Vuong, has temporarily lifted HAGL out of the danger zone to 10th position. Lee Tae-hoon’s side are now only one point behind the V.League newbies, and everything will change if they beat the guests in the upcoming game.

In the face of a spirited HAGL side, Viettel are expected to meet a lot of difficulties, especially as they lack the service of captain Bui Tien Dung and foreigner Janclesio Santos. Tien Dung is under suspension for his three yellow cards, while the Brazilian player is being suspended due to his red card at SLNA’s Vinh Stadium last weekend.

The absence of the two pillars will, to some extent, affect the tactics and play-style of Viettel and puts manager Nguyen Hai Bien in the face of a lineup problem, in which he has to seek suitable names as replacements.

Confronting a Viettel side who are showing uncertainties in terms of both form and lineup will be a good chance for Lee Tae-hoon’s troops to show off their power and strong will. A home victory later today will allow HAGL to reduce their gap with the title frontrunners as well as lessen their worry in the relegation escape race.

On Saturday (Aug 10), Tam Ky Stadium will be heated with the clash between hosts Quang Nam FC and Ho Chi Minh (HCM) City. Despite their poor form so far this season, Quang Nam are showing that when falling into a difficult situation, they can still produce unpredictable results, especially following their resounding 3-0 victory over Thanh Hoa FC on the previous matchday. In contrast, HCM City suddenly slowed down in the title race with a humiliating 1-2 defeat against Sanna Khanh Hoa BVN last weekend, which forced them to lose top spot to Hanoi FC. Chung Hae-seong’s side will surely fight their best against Quang Nam for the full three points, in a bid to reclaim the V.League reign after matchday 20.

Thanh Hoa FC (in yellow) down Hanoi FC 4-1 in the first leg of the V.League.

Reigning champions Hanoi FC will host Thanh Hoa FC at Hang Day Stadium on Sunday (Aug 11) with a great psychological advantage, following their 1-0 win against Becamex Binh Duong in the second leg of the AFC Cup ASEAN zonal final, which has sent them through to the Inter-zone play-off semifinals as the ASEAN representatives. Inspired by a confident mood, Chu Dinh Nghiem’s troops are heading towards a home victory over Thanh Hoa in order to defend their grip on the top of the V.League table.

Thanh Hoa FC will travel to Hang Day Stadium without the service of foreign duo Stevens and Rimario. Stevens has still yet to recover from an injury suffered against HCM City and will possibly be kept on the bench for the Hanoi trip. Meanwhile, another pillar, Rimario, is being suspended after a direct red card in their matchday 19 meeting with Quang Nam FC.

The absence of the two strikers proves to be a big disadvantage for Vu Quang Bao’s side ahead of the clash with title leaders and favourites Hanoi FC. A draw will be an acceptable result for the guests; however, challenges for them are really huge.

In other fixtures of matchday 20, Sanna Khanh Hoa and Quang Ninh Coal will play host to SHB Da Nang and Nam Dinh FC on Saturday, respectively. Meanwhile, Hai Phong FC and Becamex Binh Duong will visit Song Lam Nghe An and Saigon FC the next day.

The detailed schedule of V.League matchday 20 fixtures