|Going for gold: Gonzalo Damian Marronkle of Ha Noi T&T (left) scores a doubles in his team's 4-1 victory over Thanh Hoa yesterday. — VNS Photo Tuan Tu
HA NOI (VNS) — Ha Noi T&T trounced top-ranked Thanh Hoa 4-1 in their 18th round match in the V.League 1 yesterday in the capital city.
The win brought the former champions back into the title race as they are now one of the top three teams.
Thanh Hoa's second loss in a row pushed them down to the second spot in the rankings, ceding the top spot to Becamex Binh Duong.
Gonzalo Damian Marronkle grabbed a double while Victor Manuel Ormazabal and Nguyen Van Quyet netted a goal each for Ha Noi T&T.
Thanh Hoa's Le Quoc Phuong scored the only goal for the hosts, 17 minutes after the interval.
At Dong Thap Stadium, hosts Dong Thap tasted victory yesterday after two losses in a row.
They beat Dong Tam Long An 2-1 in a match that the visiting side played without their key striker Souleymane Diabate and midfielder Vo Nhat Tan, both sidelined by injuries.
The absence of the duo adversely affected Dong Tam Long An's performance, as their substitutes failed to convert their chances into goals.
On the other hand, the hosts' foreign players, Kpenosen Samson and Felix Gbenga Ajala, were at their peak.
Samson opened the score in the 29th minute with a powerful header to the far left corner.
It was 2-0 for Dong Thap after Nguyen Cong Thanh sent the ball into the net from a narrow angle five minutes later.
Dong Tam Long An did their best, but could only score a goal at the end of the first half when Rafael Dos Santos Lima beat goalkeeper Tran Khoa Dien in a one-two situation.
Coach Dinh Cao Nghia was back with Quang Ninh Coal after resting two rounds for health reasons, but saw his team lose 0-1 to defending champions Becamex Binh Duong on their home turf.
Nghia, who has been promoted as the deputy chairman of the team, tried his best, but could only help his team deny their rivals a goal until the 82nd minute.
Meanwhile, Trinh Quang Vinh scored a golden goal that brought Binh Duong back to the top of the rankings after two weeks at the No 2 spot.
A strong push after their victory against Binh Duong in the last round did not help Hoang Anh Gia Lai win yesterday.
The team of young players were beaten 0-2 by former winners SHB Da Nang at the Chi Lang Stadium.
The loss was partly attributed to the absence of coach Guillaume Graechen and to striker Hoang Thanh Tung suffering pain in his ribs. Tung, who scored two goals in the last round, was not at his best due to the pain.
Fraser Sean Peter Roy opened the scoring just 10 minutes into the game when his low shot easily found the net.
Hoang Anh Gia Lai made several changes in the second half and talented Nguyen Cong Phuong was put in the field, but the under-23 team striker failed to lift his team's game.
Their poor performance saw them concede another goal, in the 85th minute, when Roy completed his double with a header.
Hoang Anh Gia Lai are back in the next-to-bottom place in the rankings just four days after leaving that spot.
In other matches, Dong Nai remained at the bottom position despite their 3-1 win over Quang Nam. Nguyen Hai Anh, Henry Kisekka and Christian Amougou scored a goal each for the team.
Can Tho scored a surprise 2-1 win over third-placed Hai Phong on home soil. The victory pushed them one step up to No 12 in the rankings.
Former champions Song Lam Nghe An suffered a shock yesterday as they were defeated 0-1 on their ground by underdogs Sanna Khanh Hoa.
Nguyen Hoang Quoc Chi netted the only goal of the match, in the 84th minute, helping his team climb up to a surprising fourth position with 30 points. — VNS