|On the rise: Andre Diego Fagan of Hai Phong (left) vies for the ball against Can Tho's Phan Thanh Phuc during their V-League match. — VNS Photo Tuan Tu
HA NOI (VNS) — The rich Quang Ninh Coal let defending champions Becamex Binh Duong taste their first defeat of the Toyota V.League 1 season yesterday. The team were beaten 1-2 on their home turf at Go Dau Stadium.
The loss resulted in the hosts losing their top position to Hai Phong, who secured their fourth win in a row yesterday.
On-song visitors created a miracle, with top performances from all players, giving the hosts – who won all four matches ahead of their clash – no chance.
A multi-layer defence worked so hard and effectively that none of Binh Duong's goal hunters could access anywhere near their penalty area during the first half, although the hosts dominated ball possession.
Quang Ninh nearly opened the score with rapid counter-attack tactics in the middle of the first half, when overseas Vietnamese striker Mac Hong Quan's kick found the cross bar.
Former national player Nguyen Quang Hai made a double for Quang Ninh in the first five minutes after the break. It was all the fault of the host defence, which was weakened with veteran Nguyen Xuan Thanh sidelined due to injury.
Coach Le Thuy Hai of Binh Duong tried to improve the situation with some changes in the front line. For the first time this season, Viet Nam's best striker, Le Cong Vinh, was put on the field. He played a key role in increasing pressure on Quang Ninh.
Binh Duong's biggest chance was when Nguyen Anh Duc made a straight shot after a free kick at the 58th minute. It failed to beat goalkeeper Huynh Tuan Linh.
Linh later disappointed all local fans with his outstanding dive to block captain Nguyen Trong Hoang's cannon kick at the 79th.
Binh Duong's Mai Tien Thanh could have narrowed the score in overtime, but it was too late to change anything.
The win pushed Quang Ninh to the third position on the ranking table with 12 points, as many as Binh Duong, who fell to second place.
Hai Phong continued their streak after beating Can Tho 4-2 at home and jumped to the top with 13 points.
Errol Anthony Stevens scored a double in between goals by Tran Duc Duong and Andre Diego Fagan.
Can Tho's Le Van Thang also had his own double, but failed to save his team from a third loss this season. They stayed second to last with only two points.
In Pleiku City, hosts Hoang Anh Gia Lai found their second win after three losses in a row.
The young side beat former champions SHB Da Nang 1-0 with a successful penalty by Dragicevic Zdravko at the 58th minute.
The win lifted Hoang Anh Gia Lai to eighth place with six points, while the fourth straight loss dumped Da Nang into deeper crisis with a rumour that coach Le Huynh Duc would be facing unemployment in the near future.
In other events, Thanh Hoa came from behind to beat title favourite Ha Noi T&T 2-1; Quang Nam won 3-1 over Dong Nai on home ground; Dong Tam Long An beat Dong Thap 3-0, with all goals scored in the last five minutes; and Sanna Khanh Hoa tied Song Lam Nghe An 2-2. — VNS