|Hoàng Anh Gia Lai striker Nguyễn Văn Toàn scores a goal in his team's 2-0 win over Nam Định on November 4. Photo of VPF|
HÀ NỘI — Hoàng Anh Gia Lai successfully avoided relegation from the V.League 1, while Hà Nội missed a chance to increase its lead over other title favourites in Friday's matches.
Hoàng Anh Gia Lai ended their 10-game winless streak after beating Nam Định 2-0 on their home turf in the Central Highland city of Pleiku.
South Korean An Sae Hee and national striker Nguyễn Văn Toàn scored a goal for the host in each half.
The former champions now have 27 points after 21 matches and are no worry of relegation any more.
"Ten matches without a win is a sad record for us. After this match, we have to talk together. We need to leave all the troubles behind and try to earn the supporters' love back, inviting them to fill our stadium," said coach Kiatisuk Senmuang.
"Hoàng Anh Gia Lai are known not only in Việt Nam but also other countries including Thailand. We will try to play well in the last games of this season and will be in the top five next year," he said.
Next week, Hoàng Anh Gia Lai will play Hà Tĩnh, who are struggling near the bottom of the rankings but won one point from a match against Hải Phòng on Thursday.
On the other side, coach Vũ Hồng Việt was not too disappointed despite failure.
"We lost but we still have three matches with two on home ground, so we still have an opportunity to stay up," Việt said. "Our performance in away games is often not good. But on home turf, we will be much better."
Nam Định will entertain Hải Phòng at its Thiên Trường Stadium on November 8.
Leading Hà Nội FC failed to extend its lead over other rivals after tying 1-1 with host Thanh Hóa on Friday.
Young striker Phạm Tuấn Hải opened the scoring for the visiting side 10 minutes into the game. Midfielder Nguyễn Thái Sơn levelled 20 minutes after the interval for Thanh Hóa.
"It is a pity that Hà Nội received a draw result but in fact it is difficult to take three points as a visiting team," coach Chun Jae Ho of Hà Nội said. "Today, Hà Nội did not manage the ball well in the central area because of a fitness problem. Players made mistakes, leading to Thanh Hóa's goal."
Despite a draw, Chun still believes in his chance to win his first title with Hà Nội.
"I don't think this draw affects our chance to reach the top podium. We still work hard for every single match. In the next two games, we will play at home. We can self-decide if we can take the championship and it is 80 per cent that we will win," Chun said.
On Thanh Hóa's side, coach Svetislav Tanasijevic praised his players who missed several threatening chances to beat the powerful rival.
The host players enjoy a bonus of VNĐ600 million (US$24,100) before visiting Becamex Bình Dương next week.
In another key game, Viettel tied Bình Định in a goalless match at the Hàng Đẫy Stadium, leaving Bình Định at third with 38 points and Viettel fourth with 35. VNS