Endangered teams scrap for survival
|Team spirit: Ninh Binh players celebrate after scoring a goal. They will play Kien Giang in the V-League's 20th round match on home turf at the Hoa Lu Stadium. — File Photo
HA NOI (VNS)— The battle for V-League survival reaches a turning point this weekend when the two bottom teams, Ninh Binh and Kien Giang, face each other in what is likely to be a do-or-die encounter.
The Eximbank V-League is entering its 20th round of fixtures, with time running out for the clubs stranded at the foot of the table to save themselves.
Ninh Binh, who sit second bottom on 19 points, are currently in control of their own destiny and a win against bottom-ranked Kien Giang at their Hoa Lu Stadium would be enough to secure their top flight status for another year.
On the other hand, anything less than a win for Kien Giang will almost certainly doom them to the drop.
With the advantage of playing at home, Ninh Binh coach Le Van Si is confident of a win for his team despite having lost their last three games on the bounce.
Kien Giang, on the other hand, secured a 3-1 victory over Xuan Thanh Sai Gon (SGXT) last week and will look to take that momentum into this weekend's six pointer.
However, coach Lai Hong Van will have to make do without key defender Hendrich, who is still struggling with injury problems.
Elsewhere tomorrow, leaders Ha Noi T&T will welcome in-form Thanh Hoa to the Hang Day Stadium in what promises to be an exciting contest. A win over the visitors would move Ha Noi T&T within touching distance of their second V-League title in four years.
SGXT, who are seventh place with 24 points, will take on second-placed Song Lam Nghe An (SLNA) at the Thong Nhat Stadium. SLNA are just two points behind Ha Noi in the title race.
SHB Da Nang are four points behind Ha Noi and they must beat Vicem Hai Phong at home to have any chance of retaining their title. Becamex Binh Duong, who sit at ninth place with 22 points, will host third-placed Hoang Anh Gia Lai with the aim of securing at least one point to make certain of their safety.
In-form Dong Tam Long An, who are enjoying a run of four successive wins, will need only one point from their trip to Dong Nai to keep their place next season. — VNS