Minh Vuong scores hat-trick as HAGL thrash Hai Phong 5-1 at home

Saturday, 2019-09-21 12:08:42
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Van Toan and Minh Vuong (no. 8) contribute four goals to HAGL's 5-1 victory against Hai Phong FC. (Photo: Vnexpress)
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NDO – Midfielder Tran Minh Vuong blasted a hat-trick to help Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) outclass Hai Phong FC 5-1 at home on September 20 to temporarily escape from the red-alert group in the V.League table.

* Hanoi FC crowned V.League champions with two games in hand

The title race of the 2019 season has come to an end with Hanoi FC clinching the overall crown after edging past Song Lam Nghe An 1-0 on Thursday.

The focus has now been put on the bottom group which sees up to seven teams yet to gain safety from relegation.

HAGL headed into the home clash knowing that a win was a must if they did not want to fall to the penultimate place, which is subject to the relegation playoff match. After a solid first half, the hosts sped up their tempos in the second to claim the full three points. The bright spot in HAGL’s victory was the surprise-producing ability of attacking trio Van Toan – Minh Vuong – Martins.

With a quality lineup consisting of many national team players, Lee Tae-hoon’s side dominated ball possession from the start and needed only 16 minutes to move ahead. Hai Phong keeper Vu Hai managed to parry Martins’ left-wing shot, enabling Van Toan to return the ball to Minh Vuong to slot in for the opener.

The first half witnessed many costly mistakes committed by the two teams’ goalies. In the 31st minute, keeper Van Truong failed to catch a cross into the box and lost the ball to Fagan, who fed Schmidt to head home into the empty net to restore the parity.

Shortly before the beak, keeper Vu Hai continued to lose the ball in the area, but it was lucky for the guests as Martins fired a shot over the crossbar.

The second half saw a lopsided game in favour of the home side as they got on the scoresheet four additional times.

Minh Vuong resumed HAGL’s lead by skillfully shooting past the Hai Phong keeper in a 51st-minute one-on-on. He completed his hat-trick 15 minutes later, stealing the ball from a Hai Phong defender, dribbling it past three other players and completing his brilliant solo with a skillful finish toward the far corner to the excitement of the coaching staff and home fans.

HAGL players celebrate scoring against Hai Phong FC.

By blasting three goals against Hai Phong FC, Minh Vuong has become the top domestic scorer of the 2019 V.League with 10 in total, one clear of striker Nguyen Van Quyet of Hanoi FC.

With time running out, Hai Phong FC deployed their entire force on HAGL’s half seeking for goals, leaving a huge blank in the backline. This forced them to pay the price by conceding a fourth time in the 72nd minute. Taking the ball from the home field, striker Van Toan utilised his speed to leave behind the Hai Phong defenders and goalkeeper before slotting in the empty net to make it 4-1 for the guests.

HAGL’s rally only stopped in the 80th minute with Martins finishing off keeper Vu Hai on a rebound in a one-on-one.

The guests were awarded a penalty late in the match, but Jermie Lynch was unable to beat goalie Van Truong from the spot.

It was the biggest win for HAGL since the beginning of the season. With 29 points, Lee Tae-hoon’s side have moved up to 10th place, 10 points clear of bottom-placed Sanna Khanh Hoa BVN and four above Thanh Hoa FC.

Viettel players celebrate Bui Tien Dung's goal against Becamex Binh Duong. (Photo: NDO/Tran Hai)

In other fixtures on the same day, Ho Chi Minh City further consolidated their runner-up place by defeating city neighbours Saigon FC 4-1, while newly promoted Viettel pocketed a 2-1 home victory against former champions Becamex Binh Duong. Quang Ninh Coal were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Quang Nam FC.