|Leaving it late: Hai Phong players (left) compete for the ball against rivals from SHB Da Nang during their match yesterday in which Hai Phong triumphed to climb to fifth in the table with nine points. — Photo thethao247.vn
HCM CITY (VNS) — Tran Van Hoc struck a winning goal in the second minute of four-minute stoppage time to hand Hai Phong a 2-1 win over SHB Da Nang. It was their first win in three matches and eased increasing pressure on coach Dylan Kerr.
It was a surprising reward for the Englishman and his players given that the match seemed to be destined for a 1-1 draw, with Lucas Goncaves opening the scoring 10 minutes after the kick-off and Mamic Bojan equalising in the 32nd minute. The hosts were on the defensive until the last minute of regular time.
The win not only temporarily pushes Hai Phong to fifth place with nine points, but also gives Kerr some relief after two successive losses. This led to a considerable decline in fans at Hai Phong Stadium.
For SHB Da Nang, whose attacking and goal-scoring ability was seriously limited by the absence of key striker Gaston Merlo, the loss puts them in sixth place and raises doubts about their title credentials this season.
At Vinh Stadium, Song Lam Nghe An also ended their losing streak with a 1-0 win over bottom-side Hung Vuong An Giang. Striker Biayaga Paul Emile scored the only goal of the match in the early minutes.
Nghe An now rise to the fourth place, while newly-promoted An Giang, who have yet to win, face the prospect of returning to First Division after one season in top-flight football.
In the most anticipated match of yesterday, Hoang Anh Gia Lai was held at home to a 1-1 draw by Becamex Binh Duong, who went in front through Huynh Kesley Alves just four minutes after the restart following a lacklustre first half.
At the 68th minute, young striker Le Hoang Thien salvaged one point for the home team with a free kick with a portion of luck. Thien's shot hit the back of the Dang Van Robert stand and changed direction before flying into the net. The goalkeeper, Nguyen Quoc Thien Esele, dived in the opposite direction.
Gia Lai had more ball for the rest of the match and created a few good opportunities, but all four strikers Luong Minh Trung, Thien, Tomothy and Felix failed to capitalise, sending their shots off target. — VNS