|Team spirit: Defending champions Ha Noi T&T celebrate winning against Da Nang. They are aiming to remain on top of the V-League this weekend. — Photo baodanang.vn
HCM CITY — Defending champions Ha Noi T&T are set to keep their top position on the ranking table when they travel to struggling Hai Phong in their 17th-round encounter at Lach Tray Stadium tomorrow.
The Ha Noi-based football club, which claimed the top place after beating SHB Da Nang 2-0 at home on Wednesday, will enter the match tomorrow as the clear favourite over the home team, which have lost two recent games and are falling back towards the bottom of the table.
T&T, with its quality players in all areas, will be able to fill their possible strongest line-up as all key players are fit to play, while Hai Phong, in ninth place with 16 points, have some players suspended for receiving three yellow cards or punishment.
Becamex Binh Duong and Thanh Hoa, T&T's main opponents in the title race, both have the same 29 points. They seem to have a tougher task as they are expected to experience difficult matches this weekend.
Second-place Binh Duong face Than Quang Ninh, once atop the table but now in eighth place with 17 points, is the other match of note today.
The northeastern football club might not be as exciting and explosive as they were in the first half of the season, but it will require the former champions to sweat if they are to leave Cam Pha Stadium with three points.
Third-ranked Thanh Hoa face an even more daunting prospect of losing points when they visit SHB Da Nang. The unproductive away performance has cast doubts on Thanh Hoa's ambition of winning the V-League for the first time, and the game tomorrow at Chi Lang Stadium might be yet another manifestation of that poor showing.
With nine points behind the top three as well as a big gap in class, there is little chance for any team in the rest of the V-League to put a spoke in the title race's wheel.
Fifth-place Dong Nai will host rock-bottom Hung Vuong An Giang at Bien Hoa city. An Giang, which managed an encouraging 3-3 draw against Hoang Anh Gia Lai last weekend, ae expected to trouble the home team.
QNK Quang Nam take on Song Lam Nghe An at Tam Ky city in an even match. Quang Nam has been in steady form in the last four rounds, while Nghe An have not been a formidable force following the departure of key players.
Hoang Anh Gia Lai, which sit sixth with 18 points, will host Dong Tam Long An at Pleiku city in the Central Highlands. Long An, just five points above An Giang, definitely need more points to keep them in the V-League next season. — VNS