|Well-timed win: Song Lam Nghe An's Le Cong Vinh and SHB Da Nang's Phan Duy Lam (right, back) fight for the ball during their match yesterday, which saw Da Nang win 2 - 1. — Photo thethaovanhoa.vn
HCM CITY (VNS) — SHB Da Nang's players held their nerves in the last ten minutes of the match to successfully end their winless run of four matches with a 2-1 victory over Song Lam Nghe An yesterday at Chi Lang Stadium, bringing them into the top four.
The win not only helped Da Nang rise to fourth place, nine points behind third-ranked Ha Noi T&T only on goal difference, but is also a timely boost for coach Le Huynh Duc's team, which have lost one match and drawn three since their 3-1 win over Dong Tam Long An in the opening round.
On the other side of the pitch, it was the third loss for coach Nguyen Huu Thang and his players. Nghe An fell to seventh place with six points.
The first half was boring and poor quality as most of the action took place in the midfield, where players tried to win back the ball from each other. There were almost no clear-cut goal-scoring opportunities created for the whole of the first half.
The only realistic goal-scoring opportunity came in the 36th minute. Doan Hung Son rushed down on the right flank and squared the ball across the front of the goal. Valentic Adrian rushed in to touch the ball from a close range but the ball went wide off the left post.
Duc decided to bring Gaston Merlo, who was not ready to be included in the starting lineup because of injury, to the field. But with only one minute left, Merlo had no impact until two teams left the field goalless at halftime .
The second half was more lively as the Argentinian, who seemed not to be affected by injury, quickly made an impact, providing assistance to two goals for Da Nang in the beginning of the second half.
Da Nang took the lead in the 48th minute as midfielder Nguyen Vu Phong collected a pass from Merlo and paced down towards the box to face Nghe An keeper Tran Nguyen Manh before shoving the ball past Manh into the net.
Just three minutes later, the score was 2-0 for the hosts. Once again Merlo turned the provider as he dribbled past the Nghe An defender to feed Phan Thanh Hung, who skillfully curled home on the edge of the box beyond the reach of Manh into the high corner of the net.
Substitute Ndjodo Edouard pulled back one goal for Nghe An in the 77th minute as he tapped home the rebound resulting from a powerful shot from rising star Tran Phi Son on the edge of the box.
Nghe An flooded forwards in search of the equaliser but a solid defence from Da Nang as well as Nghe An's poor communication in front of the goal left Nghe An going home empty-handed.
It was another unsuccessful match for star striker Le Cong Vinh, who has not scored in the last two games and remains one goal shy of the 100 mark, the record number of goals scored by a local striker in the history of the V-League.
In the remaining matches of the day, V-League newcomers continued extending their unbeaten run to five matches. They came from 2-1 to beat Hoang Anh Gia Lai 3-2 at home.
Nguyen Hai Huy scored a double and Uche Iheruome scored the third for the home team while Timothy Anjembe and Nguyen Hoang Helio were the scorers for Gia Lai.
The victory also helped coach Dinh Cao Nghia's team climb to second place with 11 points after the sixth round.
Meanwhile at Thanh Hoa Stadium, the home team, who have not yet conceded a game, continued extending their excellent form with a 3-1 win over the defending champions Ha Noi T&T, their successive fifth victory, putting them five points clear at the top.
Binh Duong have also been enjoying a renaissance with a 4-1 win over hosts An Giang, their second win in a row, to rank fifth with seven points.
Today the two remaining matches of the sixth round will take place, with Hai Phong hosting Dong Nai and Quang Nam travelling to Long An.
On the second day of the National Women's Football Championship yesterday, Phong Phu Ha Nam beat Viet Nam Coal and Mineral 1-0 in the only match.
Striker Nguyen Thi Tuyet Dung scored the only goal to help coach Van Thi Thanh's team take the first three points and rank second behind defending champions Ha Noi 1. — VNS