|Season finale: Nguyen Van Quyet of Ha Noi T&T (right) passes goalkeeper To Vinh Loi of Thanh Hoa to score during his team's 5-2 victory yesterday at Hang Day Stadium. — VNS Photo Tuan Tu
HA NOI (VNS) — Thanh Hoa suffered their humiliating loss yesterday in the capital city, but still managed to win the bronze medal as the V-League season came to an end.
Their 2-5 defeat to hosts Ha Noi T&T was their second worst loss in the season, following their losing 0-8 to Dong Nai in round 12 on April 12.
However, their nearest rivals, SHB Da Nang, could not take advantage of their failure to occupy third place in the final ranking.
Da Nang had two points less than Thanh Hoa prior to the last round match. They needed a win over newly crowned champions Becamex Binh Duong to enter the top three. However, the former winning team, despite great efforts, only earned a 1-1 draw as Binh Duong was on a song after taking the triumph cup one round earlier than scheduled.
Thanh Hoa players started the game as if in a dream, when Le Quoc Phuong opened the score at the 19th minute. Phuong, from the left wing, received a ball and broke through T&T's defence. His straight shot into the far corner was out of goalkeeper Nguyen Van Cong's reach.
However, their nightmare began in the second half. Just two minutes after the break, T&T levelled the result.
Corner-kick expert Phan Thanh Luong dropped the ball to the box where teammate Bui Van Hieu jumped up and his sharp header found the net.
It was then 2-1 for the hosts from a counter-attack. Defender Cyrus Daneil Nicholas, in an attempt to mark his presence, sent the ball to the net from a straight header at the 51st minute.
The score board changed continuously every three minutes with goals by Nguyen Van Quyet of T&T and Le Thanh Binh from the visiting side.
Also, Hoang Vu Samson pocketed his 23rd goal of the season, 15 minutes before the end. It was 4-2 for the hosts.
The naturalised striker of T&T became the best scorer of the year. It is the second time in a row Samson leads the scoring list of V-League.
Anjembe Timothy of Hoang Anh Gia Lai and Abass Cheikh Dieng from Binh Duong were his runners-up, respectively.
Thanh Hoa was previously warned that they would suffered a fine of 50 per cent of their salaries for the last two months cut in case of failing to protect their third position.
But they could not do anything else to stop T&T's attempts.
Pham Van Thanh had his goal at the 88th minute, sealing a beautiful revenge for the capital representative, who lost 1-3 in the first leg match six months ago.
At the same time at Go Dau Stadium in Binh Duong Province, Da Nang went ahead with the opener at the 15th by Doan Hung Son, but they just kept their lead 20 minutes before host player Dang Van Thanh levelled with a crazy back-heel to the net.
The result meant that there was no change in the ranking, with Binh Duong topping the tournament for their third time in its history with 49 points.
Yesterday they received the cup from the organisers on their home turf.
T&T came in second with two points less, and Thanh Hoa maintained at third place on 40 points.
The two runners-up were also awarded their medals at the Hang Day Stadium in Ha Noi.
In other activities, Quang Ninh Coal beat Quang Nam 2-0; Dong Nai lost 0-1 to Dong Tam Long An; Hoang Anh Gia Lai defeated Hai Phong 2-1; and Hung Vuong An Giang suffered their 16th loss of the season.
An Giang will have to compete in a playoff match against V-League 2's third-placed Can Tho. The winners will compete at V-League next season. The schedule for the playoff has not been announced. — VNS