DA NANG (VNS)— Hosts Da Nang were held to a goalless draw by Sai Gon Xuan Thanh in an early third round match in the V-League at Chi Lang Stadium yesterday.
The draw puts Da Nang on top of the table with seven points after three matches – one point clear of second placed Song Lam Nghe An who play Binh Duong tomorrow.
It was a poor result for the hosts who failed to take advantage of home support and a powerful squad to claim all three points.
In the Super Cup last month, Da Nang trounced Sai Gon Xuan Thanh 4-0.
Captain Nguyen Minh Phuong, wingers Huynh Quoc Anh and Pham Nguyen Sa, and top scorer Gaston Merlo all played well, but failed to find the back of the net.
In other V-League matches today, Thanh Hoa host Hoang Anh Gia Lai while Hai Phong take on Kien Giang. Ninh Binh visit Dong Tam Long An, while Ha Noi T&T welcome Dong Nai at Hang Day Stadium tomorrow.
Da Nang won the V-League last year.
The V-League, the country's top-flight national football championship, resumes this weekend after a three-week break during which the national team competed in the Brazil FIFA World Cup 2014 qualifiers.
League organisers have a tough job on their hands as the national championship enters the third round on the back of dwindling spectator numbers.
When the latest V-League season kicked off after a long delay, there seemed to be some encouragement for those running the game as a significant increase in attendance was recorded in stadiums across the country.
Five of the six stadiums drew over five thousand fans in the first round with Vinh and Chi Lang stadiums boasting over 10,000 in attendance. But the second round saw a slight reduction with only Thanh Hoa stadium seeing over 10,000 fans.
The in-form Hoang Anh Gia Lai will have a hard time today when they travel to Thanh Hoa, whose vociferous fans will back their team to build on a good start that has seen the home team earn four of six possible points.
A draw will be not be a very bad result for both teams at the moment.
However, it is a different story in the match between third-from-bottom Hai Phong and bottom-placed Kien Giang as both teams, who are yet to score any point, will throw everything at each other to earn three points and escape from the bottom zone.
The centre of attention in the third round opening matches will be the contest between former champions Song Lam Nghe An (SLNA) and Becamex Binh Duong, poles apart in form after the two first rounds.
While 2011 champions SLNA are flying high with two wins out of two games to top the table, two-time champions Binh Duong have not been able to score a single point, and are sitting second from the bottom.
The game is also very important to Binh Duong's South Korean coach Cho Yoon-hwan, who has been under great pressure after his team was ousted from the National Cup, losing 3-2 to Da Nang last weekend.
Meanwhile, Ha Noi T&T have a good chance to put the embarrassing loss to Ninh Binh in the second round behind them. Their opponent tomorrow is newly promoted Dong Nai, who were trounced 4-1 by Thanh Hoa in the second round. — VNS