|Out of reach: Errol Anthony Stevens of Hai Phong (left) scores a goal during a match against Can Tho last week. Hai Phong will play SHB Da Nang tomorrow. — VNA/VNS Photo Tuan Tu
HA NOI (VNS)— The Hai Phong team will travel to the central beach city to face SHB Da Nang in the sixth round match of the Toyota V.League 1 tomorrow.
Two members of both the teams will play opposite each other in their first ever clash at the national premier league, where Hai Phong has topped the rankings and Da Nang is struggling at the bottom rung.
However, no one would have an expected a clash between two former national players Le Huynh Duc, the experienced manager of Da Nang, and Nguyen Viet Hoang, a first time coach for the Hai Phong team.
Duc will not be in-charge this time as he is in Hue taking part in his father-in-law's funeral.
After rumours started circulating about Duc's shaky position following the team's four losses and one draw, the Da Nang managing board secured his future.
Da Nang was being considered as one of the title favourites ahead of the league, and after their finishing fourth last season.
"We could not imagine such a bad start. This is the second time in our history after the first time seven years ago when we only had our first win in the seventh round," said SHB Da Nang Chairman Bui Xuan Hoa.
"I think our results are pretty bad, but it has still not reached a crisis stage. We need to improve the situation and become a little lucky," said Hoa.
"The club leaders strongly believe in Duc and also our players. The poor results stem from different reasons, and are not only because of the coach," Hoa stated.
Despite facing an in-form Hai Phong, Da Nang plans to record its first win on the home ground of Chi Lang Stadium.
Hoa said the most important task now is to lighten the heavy pressure on players and strengthen the front line with a qualified foreign striker during the second leg of the tournament.
Da Nang has two foreign strikers, but they have not scored any goals in the last five matches.
Apart from the absence of the head coach tomorrow, they will also miss their national forward Ho Ngoc Thang, who suffered a knee injury last week and has been rested for a month.
Although he is different from his counterpart, Hoang seems to be having the best time, even though this is his first season as a coach.
Hai Phong entered the league as an underdog last season, when the team was ranked tenth out of 12 teams. Its players are not big stars and Hoang was reluctantly chosen as the coach of the team.
However he made a big bang, guiding his team to the leading place with a no-loss run.
He also transformed his players into real goal hunters – Errol Anthony Stevens and Andre Diego Fagan – who have scored eight out of the team's 10 goals. His defenders worked really hard saving their net during the first four matches and suffered two goal losses last weekend.
The six round will also see an unequal match between hosts Can Tho and defending champions Becamex Binh Duong.
Can Tho are at the next-to-bottom position, while Binh Duong lost their top seat last week.
In Nghe An, former champions Song Lam Nghe An will host Thanh Hoa.
Sanna Khanh Hoa will play against Dong Tam Long An in Nha Trang City.
Quang Nam will play Dong Thap; Hoang Anh Gia Lai will compete with Quang Ninh Coal and Ha Noi T&T will host Dong Nai. — VNS