Nam Định wins V.League after 39 years

June 25, 2024 - 20:21
Nam Định FC performed as worthy champions, hammering already-relegated Khánh Hoà FC 5-1, to seal their championship with a game to spare.
Thép Xanh Nam Định FC celebrate their second V.League championship and thieir first for 39 years. VNA/VNS Photo Minh Quyết

Anh Đức

NAM ĐỊNH After 39 years of hurt, be it facing or getting relegated, Thép Xanh Nam Định FC and their fans are finally cheering.

Yesterday they won their second V-League title in front of their home fans.

Nam Định FC performed as worthy champions, hammering already-relegated Khánh Hoà FC 5-1, to seal their championship with a game to spare.

A hat trick from current league top scorer Rafaelson and goals from fellow Brazilians Hendrio and Lucas sent Thiên Trường into party mode.

The visitor consolation goal came from Nguyễn Minh Lợi.

Thirty thousand seats at the Thiên Trường Stadium in Nam Định were full, with thousands of fans without a ticket left to celebrate outside. Even the heavy rain did not deter the fiery fans, with some travelling from afar to their homeland to witness a historical moment.

Vũ Hồng Việt fielded his strongest team, leaving nothing to chance, while Khánh Hoà lost both of their foreign players due to suspensions.

Intense pressure was felt not only on the stands, but on the field. And it was the visitors who cracked in the 13th minute, as Rafaelson's splitting through ball found Hendrio free inside the box. Nam Định's No.10 quickly shot through Võ Ngọc Cường to open the score for the hosts.

The team in white doubled their lead in the 42nd minute, after Rafaelson capitalised from a bad clearance by a Khánh Hoà defender.

There was a little spoiler to the party, as Minh Lợi's towering header pulled one back for the visitors just before the break.

The hosts soon found their composure after the interval, and Rafaelson reclaimed his team's two-goal lead with a header in the 52nd minute.

The Brazilian striker, who has scored a staggering 28 goals in 23 matches, completed his hat-trick in the 83rd minute with a clever feint shot. His compatriot Lucas Alves found the net earlier in the 80th minute with a bullet header.

"I will remember this campaign for the rest of my career," said Nam Định coach Vũ Hồng Việt.

"This championship will propel us into new heights."

The victory also marked the first ever V-League championship for former HAGL Academy graduates Nguyễn Văn Toàn, Nguyễn Tuấn Anh and Nguyễn Phong Hồng Duy, who all unfortunately missed out on the championship in 2021 after the league was cancelled due to the COVID pandemic.

Nam Định still have a chance to complete the domestic double when they play the National Cup semifinals on July 4. VNS