HCM CITY — Sai Gon FC have taken over the top position from Ha Noi T&T after beating Ha Noi FC in a ninth round V-League match on Saturday at the Thong Nhat Stadium.
|New kids knock heads: Sai Gon FC and Ha Noi FC players vie for the ball in the ninth round of the V-League on Saturday. — VNA/VNS Photo Quang Nhut
This is the first time Lu Dinh Tuan's team have been on top of the table with 19 points, one point above Ha Noi T&T, who were unexpectedly held to a 1-1 draw by Dong Thap the same day.
Da Nang, with a disappointing draw at home against bottom placed team Kien Giang, are in third position with 17 points.
Contrary to all expectations of a tight game, Sai Gon FC, as the newly promoted Sai Gon Xuan Thanh team are called now, outclassed Ha Noi FC in a one-sided match.
Fielding two naturalised and three foreign players, coach Lu Dinh Tuan's team quickly controlled the match as Brazilian trio – Huynh Kesley Alves, Antonio Carlos and the man of the match Nguyen Rogerio show cased their superior strength and skills.
Just five minutes after the opening whistle, Rogerio, Carlos and Kesley combined to break through a poor Ha Noi defence. Rogerio fed the ball to Carlos who brought the ball down on the right flank, played one-two with Kesley to break the visitors' defence before sending a low shot into the net.
The home team continued piling pressure on the visitors and created a lot of chances but failed to convert. The Ha Noi team, meanwhile, rarely threatened their opponent's goal.
At about 10 minutes from the interval, Kesley made no mistake with a penalty awarded after he was brought down by Yves Mbousi, making it 2-0 for the home team.
There was little change in the second half with Sai Gon FC controlling possession and the tempo of the game, creating a raft of clear-cut chances that were not converted.
The visiting team's strikers, Timothy Anjembe and Le Cong Vinh, posed no threat to national goalkeeper Bui Tan Truong, but they also received little support from their midfielders.
"I am happy with the three points and our players' great performance. However, if we had made the most of the chances we created, the score should have been at least 5-0," Tuan said at the post-match news conference.
Ha Noi T&T's coach Nguyen Thanh Vinh was gracious in defeat.
"Sai Gon FC has a well-balanced team with qualified players in all areas and our players failed to control the midfield," he said.
In other matches of the ninth round played yesterday, Thanh Hoa defeated Hai Phong 3-0, Binh Duong beat Ninh Binh 3-1, while Song Lam Nghe An drew with Navibank Sai Gon 1-1. — VNS