|Hit man: Le Cong Vinh (right) of Song Lam Nghe An and his coach Nguyen Huu Thang during a V-League match. Vinh's performances have shown he is at the top of his game and one of the best strikers in the history of the V-League. — Photo giaoduc.net.vn
HCM CITY (VNS) — The national football championship, the Eximbank V-League 2013, is halfway through its season, and has had its ups and downs.
Local strikers Le Cong Vinh's performance has shown why he is at the top of the current game and one of the best strikers in the history of the V-League.
After being rescued from unemployment by his hometown club Song Lam Nghe An, he exceeded expectations, just days ahead of the kick-off of the new season, by playing a significant role in Song Lam Nghe An's current top ranking.
Vinh, Ha Noi T&T's former player, scored eight goals in six games to be the only Vietnamese striker to vie with foreign ones for the award for best scorer of the season.
In contrast, striker Nguyen Viet Thang turned in the worst performance. He scored only three goals even though he was often used as a main striker upfront in all the matches he played.
Argentine striker Gonzalo Marronkle is the indisputable champ this season. He has been enjoying his most prolific period at Ha Noi T&T since joining the club in 2010.
Marronkle scored 11 goals for Ha Noi T&T to lead the scoreboard.
Last season's best scorer Timothy Anjembe, however, has had a disappointing season. Being regularly used as a lone striker upfront for Ninh Binh, the Nigerian forward managed to score only three goals for the entire first half of the season.
Quite a few teams have shown us some wonderful surprises, but it is Hoang Anh Gia Lai that is a revelation for fans and media.
The team, coached by South Korean Choi Kyum-yun, dropped off the radar as a pre-season title favourite. But it has shown those who had ruled them out of the title race were wrong.
After a stuttering start to the season, the two-time champion has recorded a five-win streak to jump to the top of the ranking table. This is their best first-half finish since 2004.
At the other end of the scale, Binh Duong has delivered the most disappointing play in the first half of the season.
The two-time champion has gone from the pre-season title favourite to one of the contenders to face relegation.
Following a run of six losses and falling to the bottom of the ranking, South Korean coach Cho Yoon-hwan had to leave Binh Duong. Le Thuy Hai, who had once helped Binh Duong win its two titles, took over the club, but it is still languishing at the bottom, despite winning seven points.
Naming the best coach is a difficult task: no coach has actually stood out.
Choi, Phan Thanh Hung of Ha Noi T&T, Nguyen Huu Thang of Song Lam Nghe An, Le Huynh Duc of Da Nang and Hoang Anh Tuan of Hai Phong are all doing a good job and keeping their teams in the hunt for the title.
The coaching of Choi, however, should be mentioned because, given the lack of big names on his team, his season has been a good one. — VNS