Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Both hosts Hải Phòng and visitors Hà Nội FC will miss their top players when they meet each other in an early match of the V.League’s sixth round today.
The game was advanced, as Hà Nội needed time to prepare for their Asian Football Confederation Cup match on February 21.
A win may help Hà Nội, currently at the third place, share the top position with FLC Thanh Hóa for at least two days, before other matches of the round are played on Sunday.
Meanwhile, if they win, Hải Phòng will replace defending champions Hà Nội in the top three.
However, Hà Nội FC will have to play without their best striker Hoàng Vũ Samson because of a six-match fine. Samson has scored four goals this season, before he was fined a month ago.
Their captain, Gonzalo Damian Marronkle, twisted his ankle weeks ago, and it is still not clear if he will play today.
“We are facing a big problem of personnel. Samson and Marronkle are important to us. They influence our playing style,” said coach Chu Đình Nghiêm.
“Samson will be out for another two weeks, while Gonzalo (Marronkle) is getting better, but I am not sure if he could play again. He is important, but I need him 100 per cent ready for the match against Hải Phòng, which could be very challenging for us,” he added.
Nghiêm is now relying on youngster Nguyễn Quang Hải, who has netted four goals in five matches. Hải, 19, is considered an asset for his club, as well as the national U23 squad.
National head coach Nguyễn Hữu Thắng said he was grooming Hải for the Southeast Asian Games in August.
Nghiêm is hoping that strikers Trịnh Duy Long and Frenchman Arnaud Loris deliver the goods, despite listless performances in recent games, including in the last match against SHB Đà Nẵng which closed at 1-1.
For Hải Phòng, key forward Anthony Stevens will be sidelined, as he received three yellow cards in the previous matches.
As a perfect partner to teammate Andre Diego Fagan on the frontline, Stevens grabbed two goals after five first matches. They have been vital part of the team in the recent seasons.
Hải Phòng will have the advantage of playing at home, where their royal fans can be relied upon to fill up the 30,000-seat Lạch Tray Stadium.
The match will be aired live on VTV6 and the Việt Nam Professional Football Company’s official media channel. — VNS