Captain Nguyễn Văn Quyết (left) celebrates with his Hà Nội teammates after scoring in a 2-1 win over Hồng Lĩnh Hà Tĩnh on Sunday. Photo of VPF
HÀ NỘI — Captain Nguyễn Văn Quyết won praise for his superb goal in Hà Nội FC's 2-1 win over Hồng Lĩnh Hà Tĩnh on Sunday, a goal that helped lift his side to the top of V.League 1.
Quyết got the ball near the halfway line, driving upfield with an excellent solo run to open the scoring in the 42nd minute. This was his second goal of the season.
His teammate Muạn Tonci netted the second for the visiting side about 20 minutes later.
Trần Phi Hà pegged one back for the hosts in the 81st minute, but it was too little, too late.
"Everyone knows how important he (Quyết) is to Hà Nội FC. He has a strong influence on teammates in both training and competition," said coach Chun Jae-ho.
"He is a master of controlling the ball and can create a turning point in the match. I believe he can play well for many more years, despite being 31."
The South Korean tactician also praised young player Nguyễn Văn Tùng, who made his V.League 1 debut.
"I saw his strong efforts in preparation for this match. He has good technique and confidence. I wanted to give him a chance because I believe that when I give players my trust they will give great things back," Chun said.
Speaking about Hà Nội's first win away from home, Quyết said it would be a strong push for the whole team, especially young players like Tùng. A top place in the ranking was good but the route ahead is long and needs contribution from all members.
On the other side, coach Nguyễn Thành Công was, despite a loss, pleased with his team's performance, saying it was the best performance from the young squad since they first played in the V.League 1 in 2020.
"It was a regrettable match. We played better and better when the match went to the end. We dominated and pushed them to play in defence. Unfortunately, we could not draw level," said Công.
"It was partly due to our tired players who played three matches in a week. Some of them could not focus totally on the match."
With the win, Hà Nội are on 17 points and replace Sông Lam Nghệ An at the top of the top.
They will meet each other in the next match at Hàng Đẫy Stadium.
In Pleiku, Hoàng Anh Gia Lai got their fourth win in a row after beating Đông Á Thanh Hóa 2-0.
Midfielder Lương Xuân Trương opened the scoring with a penalty kick in the 25th minute, his first goal of the season. Striker Nguyễn Văn Toàn netted six minutes after the interval.
Thanh Hóa, despite strong home support, could not fight back. Their coach Ljupko Petrovic admitted Hoàng Anh Gia Lai were too strong to be beaten.
The Serbia coach said Hoàng Anh Gia Lai were a united team with a high level of technique. They, along with Sông Lam Nghệ An, Hà Nội, Viettel and Hải Phòng, are vying for the title this season, while the rest are fighting to avoid regelation.
Petrovic said Thanh Hóa are suffering a long list of injuries. He is relying on several players such as Gustavo Santana Santos, Lê Phạm Thành Long and Paulo Pinto and hopes that his team will be strengthened with quality players soon.
Next round, third-placed Hoàng Anh Gia Lai will rest and tenth-place Thanh Hóa will entertain Viettel on July 31.
Viettel on Sunday beat HCM City 1-0, pushing their rivals deeper into crisis.
Geovane Magno scored the only goal in the second half on their home ground.
The win cements Viettel's position in fifth place while HCM are now second from bottom with the fourth defeat in a row.
In the last match, bottom-placed Sài Gòn drew with 10-man Nam Định 2-2.
Coach Phùng Thanh Phương of Sài Gòn said: "We wanted three points but could not win despite playing with one more player from the 28th minute. My players were too tense and uncomfortable. The coaching board will have work to do for the next rounds".
Meanwhile, coach Nguyễn Văn Sỹ said a red card for defender Đinh Viết Tú was too heavy. Tú did not intend to stamp on midfielder Lâm Thuận of Sài Gòn.
"We had to defend more after the red card. But we still have a chance to win if my players were more focused. Anyway, one point from this match was not bad," Sỹ said.
Nam Định will visit SHB Đà Nẵng next match while Sài Gòn will travel to play Hà Tĩnh. VNS