HCM CITY (VNS) — Tran Thi Thu's stunning goal in the second half earned Than Khoang San the first point as they fought back to a 2-2 draw against defending champions Ha Noi 1 in their second match at the National Women's Football Championships.
Ha Noi 1 had jumped to a 2-0 lead within the first 20 minutes of the first half thanks to goals from striker Nguyen Thi Muon and midfielder Nguyen Thi Xuyen, but Nguyen Thi Hanh quickly reduced the gap to 2-1 in the 21st minute.
One point from the draw pushed Ha Noi 1 back to the top position with four points, above HCM City on goal difference.
Playing at the Thong Nhat Stadium, Ha Noi 1 looked more confident at the outset, but their game was not better than their opponents. Than Khoang San's only weak point was on the right wing and Vu Ba Dong's players quickly exploited that to get two goals within six minutes.
The first goal came in the 13th minute, when Muon easily headed home from close range as she met a cross from Vu Thi Nhung on the right wing.
From another attack on the right wing, Xuyen appeared at the right place at the right time to put the ball home in a situation that was very similar to that of the first goal.
Trailing 2-0, Doan Minh Hai's players did not panic, but responded more strongly with more players swarming forward, reducing the deficit just a minute later.
Goalkeeper Nguyen Thi Thuy Duong failed to take a firm grip on the ball, which unexpectedly spilled out and hit Hanh's legs before rolling into the net.
Than Khoang San gave an even better display in the second half when coach Hai identified the deadly weakness on the right wing and brought in Duong Thi Van. The young player not only effectively neutralised attacks from the opposition but also provided considerable assistance to the front line.
After 11 minutes of the second half, Than Khoang San levelled the match. The stunning goal started from Van, who brought the ball forwards and passed it to Thu, who made a magnificent solo before driving a 25m spectacular long-distance shot to the high corner of the net beyond the reach of Duong to level the match.
Both teams made great efforts for the rest of the game, but no team was really close to making a breakthrough to claim the match. — VNS