HA NOI — Song Lam Nghe An burst back into title contention after a 5-2 drubbing of Hai Phong in the V-League 21st round yesterday on their home turf in Vinh City.
With 31 points, Nghe An now trail 10 points behind leaders SHB Da Nang with five rounds to go.
They have an outside chance to take the title, but it will be difficult to pull off and require a lot of luck. To defend their crown, Nghe An must win all matches and Da Nang must lose four while the other teams will have lack lustre.
Yesterday Nghe An, who had the highest number of fans, spent only 17 minutes studying their rivals before opening the score.
Receiving a ball from Abass Cheikh Dieng on the left wing, national team member Nguyen Trong Hoang made a left-foot shot to score.
Eight minutes later, Hector Hughtun Kerin goaled for the host from a cross shot.
In the second half, Gustave Bebe and then Dieng made it 4-0, before Hoang Dinh Tung narrowed for the visitors in the 74th minute.
Kerin had his second goal 5-1 after a great combination with Abass from the central area. He tore Hai Phong's broken net with a straight shot to the right.
Hai Phong reduced the gap to 5-2 near the final whistle.
Meanwhile, SHB Da Nang stole the leading position from Ha Noi T&T after an easy 2-0 victory over the Ha Noi Football Club in an early match round on Saturday. They are now top with 41 points.
Meanwhile in Ha Noi, T&T lost 2-3 to Ninh Binh who played with 10 men from the 60th minute. The loss pushed them into second place on 39 points.
Facing the capital team, Da Nang coach Le Huynh Duc stayed with the line-up who beat defending champions Nghe An 4-0 last week.
They opened the score in the 37th minute with a goal by Nicolas Hernandez, and needed only two more minutes to double the score when Phan Thanh Hung passed to Huynh Quoc Anh who broke through to the box and netted.
Ha Noi tried to come back in the second half with various attempts by Golden Ball winner Le Cong Vinh and foreign strikers Anjembe Timothy and Ezeocha Odinaka Ambrose.
Vinh missed three chances in the last minutes and Ha Noi went home empty handed, ranking eighth with only 26 points after 21 rounds.
In other matches of the round, two-time champions Hoang Anh Gia Lai beat Kien Giang 3-0; Sai Gon Xuan Thanh won 2-1 over Khatoco Khanh Hoa; Thanh Hoa beat Navibank Sai Gon 2-0 and Becamex Binh Duong crashed Dong Thap 1-0. — VNS