|Brazilian striker Claudir Junior (centre) of Đà Nẵng slips past Sài Gòn's defenders in the 1-0 win on Wednesday. Đà Nẵng are guaranteed to stay in the V.League 1 next season. — Photo courtesy of VPF|
HÀ NỘI — Đà Nẵng's coach Phan Thanh Hùng hid his face in his hands after the final whistle, overwhelmed by the fact that his side are staying up.
A 1-0 win on Wednesday over Sài Gòn FC was enough to keep SHB Đà Nẵng up, though it pushed Sài Gòn closer to the drop.
"I have not been familiar with playing to avoid relegation. It is a heart attack, but I can breathe a sigh of relief now," Hùng told reporters after the game.
"Our season target is to stay in the national premier league and I have been really worried recently. We are over the moon now. We have completed our mission.
"We performed poorly in recent weeks because we played without quality players. I have lost key members for different reasons while the young players struggled.
"This win, keeping us in V.League 1, is a big bonus for us. However, we have three matches left to improve our final position," he said.
Brazilian striker Claudir Junior scored the only goal of the match for the host in the 49th minute.
With his back to the goal, he latched onto a corner and headed home from 7m out.
Although Junior scored a valuable goal, Hùng said his foreigners in the team this year did not work well and he will be in the market for new faces next year.
"This season was our draft for the next one. Our foreigners were a failure this year so that will be my top priority for the next season. We must have high-quality players. Money is not a problem," he said.
Đà Nẵng have 25 points and are six clear of Sài Gòn at the bottom with only two games left. Even if they finish level on points, Đà Nẵng will still rank higher thanks to their wins over Sài Gòn this season.
On the other hand, coach Phùng Thanh Phương of Sài Gòn was dissapointed.
"Both two teams were tense in this match. The winner is the one with luck by its side," said Phương.
"My job now is to lift my players. They must be confident and comfortable for the rest matches. It will make our tactics work effectively."
After 22 games, Sài Gòn have 19 points, one less than Nam Định and Hồng Lĩnh Hà Tĩnh. To stay with the V.League 1, Sài Gòn must win their last two matches and hope the others drop points.
In Lạch Tray Stadium, hosts Hải Phòng missed their chance to top the league with an underwhelming 1-1 draw against underdogs Hà Tĩnh.
Defender Đặng Văn Tới pushed Hải Phòng ahead with a goal in the 28th minute, but Hà Tĩnh were given a penalty for a handball in the box in the 74th minute.
|Defender Phạm Trung Hiếu of Hải Phòng tackles Nguyễn Văn Hiệp of Hồng Lĩnh Hà Tĩnh during their 1-1 match on Wednesday. — Photo of VPF|
Captain Đinh Thanh Trung levelled from the spot for his side.
After the match, Hải Phòng's coach Đình Nghiêm said: "I did not see the situation, so I will not discuss his (referee) decision. But there were several 50-50 situations which could be a penalty for us, but the referee denied all."
"I am not satisfied with one point. I am disappointed we could not beat Hà Tĩnh, although we had many threatening chances. Now it is 90 per cent that Hà Nội will win. We also have a small opportunity and will fight until the last second," he said.
Hải Phòng have 42 points and are one point behind Hà Nội. The team in second will play Nam Định and Sông Lam Nghệ An to finish out the season.
Coach assistant Nguyễn Công Mạnh praised his players' performance and bravery in the match and hopes they would get positive results next week.
"We will fight to stay with the V.League 1 till the last round. We will not concentrate on other teams' results. Instead, we will focus on our games. Next, we will play Hoàng Anh Gia Lai at home and hope our supporters will fill the stadium to encourage us," he said.
The last match on Wednesday saw Sông Lam Nghệ An beat Bình Dương 3-0 at their Vinh Stadium.
Phan Văn Đức scored a double in the first half, while Oseni Ganiyu Bolaji netted in the 70th minute.
Sông Lam Nghệ An have 30 points and are in fifth, while Bình Dương have 25 points and are in seventh. Both are guaranteed to stay up. — VNS