HCM CITY — Sai Gon Xuan Thanh (Sai Gon XT) won the National Cup trophy after crushing Ha Noi T&T 4-1 in the final yesterday at Thong Nhat Stadium, HCM City.
|We are the champions: Sai Gon Xuan Thanh's players celebrate after winning the National Cup in the maiden season of the competition. — VNS Photo Tien Thanh
Goals from naturalised players Huynh Kesley Alves, Nguyen Rogerio, Brazilian striker Antonio Carlos and Vietnamese Le Hai Anh brought home the first trophy in the club's first-time participation in the competition.
Along with the prize of VND350 million (US$16,600), HCM City-based football team also secure a berth in the Asian Football Confederation Cup next year.
The loss was the second chance within 10 days which Ha Noi T&T missed to win a title this year. On August 19, Phan Thanh Hung's team drew with Sai Gon XT in a match that would have secured them a second V-League title.
The defeat was even more sad for Hung who has just signed a contract with the Viet Nam Football Federation to lead the national teams.
Ha Noi T&T started the match seeming to display a different face than they showed in the encounter between the two teams in the last round of V-League.
Hung's players had more possession but they failed to create clear-cut chances while Sai Gon XT looked to preserve their energy.
The surprise, however, came just 10 minutes into the game when in a rare attack from Sai Gon XT, Kesley glanced home Nguyen Rogerio's square from the left wing.
The opening goal lifted the match and both sides were threatened but the home team held the upper hand. The difference was in the front line personnel. While Sai Gon XT foreign players connected well, Ha Noi T&T's striker trio – Vietnamese Nguyen Van Quyet, Argentinean Gonzalo Marronkle and Nigerian Samson Kayode – never threatened Truong's goal.
Ten minutes from the interval, Antonio Carlos doubled the score after beating a offside trap to go round T&T goalkeeper Pham Ngoc Tu and slot into an open net.
Marronkle goaled for the V-League 2012 champions Ha Noi T&T just seven minutes into the second half but further attacking efforts went unrewarded.
In fact, just the opposite occurred: T&T's desperation on attack left a loose defence which permitted two more goals, one from Anh in the 75th minute and from Rogerio in the first minute of extra time. — VNS