|Pair battle: SHB Da Nang and Binh Duong players vie for the ball in the second- round match of V-League on Saturday at Go Dau Stadium. Da Nang win 2-0. — VNA/VNS Photo Quang Nhut
GIA LAI (VNS)— Hoang Anh Gia Lai claimed their first three points of the season to escape from the bottom of the table following their convincing victory over Dong Tam Long An at home in the Eximbank V-League 2013's second round yesterday.
Oseni Ganiyu Blaji opened the score with an easy tap-in from close range in the early minutes of the first half and Evaldo Goncaves doubled the score with an angled, low shot in the second half.
The game, marked by the unexpected presence of several top football officials, brought together two teams that had once been commanding forces in the V-League. As the referee blew his whistle, it looked to be an exciting match – but it ended up as a one-sided game.
At Pleiku Stadium in the central province of Gia Lai, both teams took to the field with confidence and opted to play offensively from the first whistle, with continuous attacks at both ends of the pitch.
But it was Gia Lai who took an early lead, as Oseni took advantage of Long An's defence to make it home after Tran Duc Duong's corner shot went through many legs in front of the goalmouth in the sixth minute.
With striking pair Goncaves and Blaji up front and mobile Duong and Phung Van Nhien in the midfield, Gia Lai turned the game increasingly in their favour.
They had two good chances to double the score in the first half as Goncaves stole the ball from Nguyen Thanh Hai, but his shot flew over the bar.
Five minutes from the break, Oseni broke into the box and lobbed the ball over Long An's goalkeeper Nguyen Tien Phong, but the goal-bound ball was cleared on the line by Phan Thanh Giang.
On the other side of the game, Long An played a good first half. Shocked by the early goal, Francesco Vital's players displayed a fighting spirit and twice came close to catching up.
From a quick attack, Hai was released into the box. His shot beat Gia Lai's Nigerian goalkeeper Bassey Akpan, but Tran Bao Anh managed to clear the ball on the goal line.
It was a more one-sided game in the second half as Gia Lai looked dangerous all the time, while Long An became less cohesive and failed to create a clear-cut goal-scoring opportunity.
Gia Lai had numerous chances to conclude the game early but could only add one more goal to the final score.
"We learned from our defeat in the first round and improved our game this match. We could have won the match with a bigger margin if the strikers had been more accurate," Gia Lai's South Korean coach Choi Yoon Gyum said after the match.
In another match, Abass Cheikh Dieng scored a hattrick, helping his team Thanh Hoa beat Dong Nai 4-1 on home turf (Thanh Hoa Stadium).
With the support of fans, Thanh Hoa was on the attack from the beginning. However, the visitors opened the score first in the 12th minute.
The match got interesting as the hosts continously attacked to even the score.
Seven minutes later, Patiyo Tambwe levelled the score for the hosts. And in the 31st, 60th and 72nd minutes, Dieng scored a hattrick for Thanh Hoa.
On Saturday, Argentinean Gaston Merlo helped SHB Da Nang win 2-0 against Binh Duong at Go Dau Stadium.
"My players played very well and stuck to my strategy. Striker Merlo's goals proved that he is very skilled. Da Nang definitely deserved this win," said Da Nang coach Huynh Duc. "Compared to the match with Binh Duong last year, the hosts had better players, but they didn't play aggressively. Da Nang took the lead but the hosts still played slowly, so the visitors made a second goal."
According to Binh Duong assistant coach Tran Minh Quang, the team lost to Da Nang because players were not mentally prepared for the match, as they were defeated 1-0 by Xuan Thanh Sai Gon in the first round and did not have much training after Tet.
At Kien Giang Stadium, Song Lam Nghe An beat the hosts Kien Giang 4-1, while Ninh Binh beat Ha Noi T&T 2-0 at Ninh Binh Stadium.
After the second round, Song Lam Nghe An and SHB Da Nang took the lead with six points. — VNS