Ha Noi take home turf advantage
HA NOI — In an bid to escape relegation the Ha Noi Football Club defeated former champions Hoang Anh Gia Lai 3-2 in the 19th round of the V-League yesterday in the capital city.
|Vying for the ball: Ha Noi striker Le Cong Vinh (left) takes on the opposition during their V-League match. Ha Noi won 3-2. — VNS Photo Quang Thang
Playing on home turf proved to be an advantage for the team, who launched an attacking style of play from the beginning of the match.
Coach Hoa Manh Hung set up his strongest front line of Golden Ball winner Le Cong Vinh, Anjembe Timothy and Pham Thanh Luong.
Their plan was successful as they opened the score at the seventh minute, when Timothy from the right wing made a pass to Vinh whose strong header easily found the net.
Hoang Anh Gia Lai were forced to rearrange their line-up, seeking an equaliser which came 15 minutes later.
Aganun Olushola ran from the central area receiving a long pass that went through Ha Noi's defence before he tapped it in.
Vinh and Timothy were later given dozens of opportunities to raise the score but failed due to inaccurate finishes, while goalie Nguyen Tuan Manh successfully blocked all shots. The visitors went ahead in the last seconds of the first half when young midfielder Khuat Huu Long made an accurate long-distance shot that went out of keeper Nguyen Minh Phong's reach to make it 2-1.
Ha Noi's coach Hung decided to strengthen his forward line sending Ambrose into the fray. His change worked well as the capital city's team found more chances to score. One of them was converted into a goal at the 74th minute by Tran Dinh Hung whose cross shot could not be stopped.
While many spectators seemed to be resigned to a draw, Timothy was faulted in the box, and took a penalty that found the net in extra time.
A win helped Ha Noi jump from 10th to seventh place, far from the relegation danger area. While Hoang Anh Gia Lai maintained their position at fifth.
In the next round, Ha Noi will travel to the south to play Dong Thap, while Hoang Anh Gia Lai stay at home to receive defending champions Song Lam Nghe An. — VNS