|CHAMPIONS: Hà Nội Police players celebrate their V.League 1 victory. The Police drew with Thanh Hóa 1-1 in the final match of the season on August 27 at Hà Nội's Hàng Đẫy Stadium. Photo courtesy of Hà Nội Police|
HÀ NỘI — A draw was enough for Hà Nội Police to win the V.League 1 title on Sunday at the Hàng Đẫy Stadium in Hà Nội.
The Police tied with Thanh Hóa 1-1 in the final match of the national premier league. They finished with 38 points and topped the table on goal difference.
It was a brilliant achievement for the team as they secured the trophy in their first year competing at the top level.
The achievement matched Hoàng Anh Gia Lai, the only other team to win the title in their first season in the top flight, but that was 20 years ago in 2003.
From a corner kick talented Nguyễn Quang Hải's smart ball found Rodrigues Gustavo Henrique in the box. The Brazilian striker made no mistake to open the score in the 42nd minute.
Hải, who signed a contract with the Police after his unexpected move to Pau FC in the French Ligue 2 in June, continued to assist his teammates in the second half of the match but Gustavo and Jesus Silva Jhon Cley missed good chances.
Nearly 20 minutes after the interval, Bruno Cunha levelled the score for Thanh Hóa with a 35m straight finish that gave the goalkeeper no chance.
The balance of the game was maintained until the last minute, meaning that whatever happened in other matches, the Police ended their 39-year title drought.
It was their second championship that they won in the team's history after the first in 1984.
"I am extremely happy with the my fourth title in career. It is a meaningful win for me and the team," said Hải.
"Winning with a new team is also special for me. I will do my best to have better result with the team. This championship trophy is for all supporters of the Police."
His teammate Đoàn Văn Hậu is also a new member of the team after signing in December from Hà Nội FC. The national defender was glad with one more title in his collection.
He said: "I will try harder for more titles. Thankyou everyone for supporting and loving us.
"Hope that we will have more beautiful and competitive games in the upcoming season."
In other matches, Hà Nội FC still had a chance to defend their if they beat Viettel but they needed the Police to lose to Thanh Hóa.
They did really good job with a 3-2 victory at the Mỹ Đình Stadium.
However, it was not enough for them as the Police ended their season with a necessary draw.
Hà Nội came second having the same 38 points but a worse goal difference, followed by Viettel with 32 points.
Elsewhere, Hải Phòng lost 2-1 to Topenland Bình Định on their home ground and Thép Xanh Nam Định beat Hồng Lĩnh Hà Tĩnh 2-0.
The winner will walk away with the trophy, gold medals and VNĐ5 billion (US$210,000). The first runners-up will take VNĐ2.5 billion ($105,000) and the second runners-up will earn VNĐ1.25 billion ($53,400). VNS