|Brawl: Hoang Vu Samson (left) seen fighting with a Hai Phong player on Sunday. Samson has been banned for four matches. — Photo thethao24.tv
HCM CITY (VNS) — Defending champions Ha Noi T&T's coach Phan Thanh Hung says that Hoang Vu Samson's four-match absence was a considerable loss but that the team's depth will help it defend its title.
The Ha Noi-based football club suffered a blow in its bid to defend the title when the main striker Samson was suspended for four matches following a brawl with home players. He and Hai Phong's Dong Duc Thang were given a red card.
Hai Phong's Nguyen Van Nam, who was determined to spark the brawl as he placed his elbow into the nape of Samson's neck while fighting for the ball, was banned from participating in football activities in any kind of form until August 31.
"I felt sorry for what happened in the match against Hai Phong when the players could not keep calm," Hung said, adding that his team accepted the ban.
Nigerian-born Samson have been the most prolific goal-scorer for Hung's team this season, contributing 18 goals until the incident.
He has also been the leading scorer as the defending champions have been in a very good form, winning four successive games to return to the top position.
The title race is entering the important stage with seven games to go. Samson's absence will clearly have an effect on T&T's morale as well as its goal-scoring ability.
The Da Nang-born coach, however, said that it was regrettable that the team lost him in the important period of the season, but it was not a major concern. And with many quality players in the squad, his team can play well without Samson.
"We have a lot of good players with a decent goal-scoring record. Gonzalo has become sharper after returning from injury. Nguyen Van Quyet is finding his form while Pham Thanh Luong and Thach Bao Khanh can also score goals," Hung said.
Gonzalo Marrokle, not Samson, has indeed been the main scorer. The Argentinian scored both goals in his team's 2-0 victory over SHB Da Nang last Wednesday and netted two out of three goals in the match against Hai Phong on Sunday.
Another reason for Hung's confidence is that attacking midfielder Nguyen Van Quyet, who scored one goal against Hai Phong, started making his presence felt at the V-League, while diminutive playmaker Luong was able to recapture the form of the past.
It will not take much time to discover how important Samson is to T&T when it will have two away games against a decent Dong Nai and a formidable Binh Duong within five days.
Binh Duong is definitely the beneficiary of this situation because coach Nguyen Thanh Son's team will take on its opponent at home without having to face a lethal striker like Samson. — VNS