V-League goes down to the wire
HA NOI — The V-League title is still up for grabs after the top two teams T&T Ha Noi and SHB Da Nang lost yesterday in their penultimate games.
Defending champions Song Lam Nghe An are no longer in contention, despite a comprehensive home victory.
Holding up the table with no hope of escaping relegation are Hai Phong Cement who will be playing lower league football next year following their 17th defeat of the season.
T&T always suffered a bad result against Hoang Anh Gia Lai.
T&T went out on the attack, pressuring the Gia Lai defence but without causing them any real problems, and it was the visitors who took the lead in the 29th minute when a freekick from Bui Xuan Hieu was collected by Evaldo Goncalves who beat the defenders to finish strongly.
Coach Phan Thanh Hung of T&T strengthened his forward line with the experienced Hong Minh, but while his team was intent on levelling the scoreline, they left themselves short at the back, and Gia Lai capitalised 20 minutes after the break to make it 2-0.
Xuan Long provided the perfect delivery from the right wing to set up teammate Aganun Olushola.
Hung tried to spark his team into action, but Nguyen Van Quyet and Gonzalo Marronkle failed to convert their chances.
Quyet finally narrowed the margin in the last minute of the match, but just seconds later, Olushola doubled his tally to give the team from the Central Highlands Tay Nguyen the victory.
The win helped them jump to sixth in the table, leaving T&T frustrated.
SHB Da Nang were unable to take advantage of the slip up, losing 0-1 to lowly Dong Thap.
Hai Anh scored the only goal of the match just five minutes into the game, and Dong Thap's defencive tactics successfully frustrated Da Nang's strikers.
Following their sixth loss, Da Nang were down to third place with 45 points, one less than T&T.
Leaping them into second on goal difference were Sai Gon FC, who tied with former champions Becamex Binh Duong 1-1.
T&T, Sai Gon FC and Da Nang are still in with a shout of taking the title as they go into the final day of the season.
In Vinh City, Song Lam Nghe An defeated Ninh Binh 5-3 but it was not enough to keep them in the title race, standing five points off the leaders.
At the bottom of the table, Hai Phong have lost their battle for top flight survival after losing 1-3 to Kienlongbank Kien Giang. They have won three, drawn five and lost 17 matches, earning just 14 points this season.
Ha Noi FC, Kien Giang and Dong Thap also face the drop with one game to play. — VNS