|Reversing expectations: Souleymane Diabate (middle) of Dong Tam Long An vies for a ball against Binh Duong's defender Pham Minh Duc during their V.League 1 match yesterday. Dong Tam Long An win 3-1. — Photo vnexpress.net
HA NOI (VNS) — Defending champions Becamex Binh Duong lost a humiliating game to Dong Tam Long An, which won 3-1 in a seventh round match of the Toyota V. League 1 yesterday.
The hosts were expected to be Binh Duong's next victim, as they won five of their six matches so far. This belief was strengthened after they scored the first goal just 16 minutes into the game.
Nguyen Tang Tuan opened the score, converting a perfect pass from Cheikh Abass Dieng from the left wing.
Binh Duong continued to dominate the first half of the game, even though their goal hunters missed all numerous threatening chances.
Yet Dong Tam Long An was back on track after the break, with former national team member Phan Van Tai Em getting the ball in the box and quickly netting it in the 53rd minute.
Three minutes later, the score was 2-1 for the hosts of Tan An Stadium, which saw thousands of home fans yesterday.
Coach Le Thuy Hai made several changes in his line-up to try to turn the situation around, but his all-star squad still failed.
Soulemane Diabate took advantage of a mistake made by former national team defender Le Phuoc Tu. His shot over goalkeeper Nguyen Quoc Thien Esele easily found the net.
Hai continued to change tactics and players, but nothing worked, even when Dong Tam Long An had to play with 10 men after Huynh Tan Tai received his second yellow card in the 75th minute.
The loss did not affect Binh Duong's top position, as the two closest rival teams did not win yesterday, either.
While Quang Ninh Coal suffered its first loss at its home ground, beaten 0-1 by Thanh Hoa, Hai Phong drew Dong Nai 1-1.
However, Dong Tam Long An rose to the fourth position in the rankings, thanks to their third win.
The early match on Saturday saw a first win for Can Tho, who beat Hoang Anh Gia Lai 3-1 with a hat-trick by Le Van Thang.
Thang, who rarely plays as a striker, now leads the chart as the top scorer with seven goals.
"We knew it would be a key match for the whole team that had yet to win a game. We kept eyes on all Hoang Anh Gia Lai players. We left them no room to play what they were good at, and succeeded. We won because we had a clear idea of their tactics," Thang remarked.
Coach Nguyen Van Sy, however, did not look down on the losing team.
He pointed out that "players of Hoang Anh Gia Lai were skilled and determined in his first V. League 1 season. If they had qualified foreign strikers in the second half of the tournament, they would be a formidable squad to play against".
Furthermore, coach Guillaume Graechen of Hoang Anh Gia Lai admitted that there were many improvements to be made in the team that did not have a real leader.
While the Frenchman congratulated the winning squad, he confessed that his team had lost because they had neither attacked well, nor defended well.
The first win helped Can Tho leave the bottom position, and players enjoyed the VND500 million (US$23,800) they won. However, the fifth loss for Hoang Anh Gia Lai pushed it to the 11th spot among 13 teams.
In other stadiums, SHB Da Nang tied Quang Nam 1-1, and Dong Thap lost 0-1 to Sanna Khanh Hoa. — VNS