|On fire: Nguyen Anh Duc Becamex Binh Duong (left) scores a double in his team's 2-0 victory over Thanh Hoa in a late match of the V-League's round 16 yesterday. — VNS Photo Tuan Tu
HA NOI (VNS) — A victory over Thanh Hoa yesterday helped former champions Becamex Binh Duong close in on V-League leader Ha Noi T&T.
The two-time winners scored two goals, both in the first half of the match, and jumped to second place with 32 points, just three less than T&T, which a day earlier, grabbed a 3-2 win over Dong Nai.
Former national striker Nguyen Anh Duc got his opener with a header in the 19th minute. Duc received a ball from a corner kick, leapt high and headed home to tear Thanh Hoa's formidable defence to pieces.
Seven minutes later the captain made it a double for the hosts, again with a powerful header in the penalty area, after a perfect pass from new comer Nguyen Trong Hoang.
The result should have been better for the hosts but for the many opportunities that were wasted by Huynh Kesley, Le Tan Tai and Abass Cheikh Dieng.
Thanh Hoa, which gave an outstanding performance in the top position after the first leg of the tournament, have failed to find their form in recent matches.
Yesterday, they had almost no chance to attack. All that their disoriented team could do was to push back Binh Duong's thunderous attempts.
Captain Nasja Ceh could not motivate the team to play together and striker Le Van Tan was left to fend for himself on the front line.
Tan's marked his presence with a shoot-out that touched the cross bar in the 76th minute. That was the only threatening counter-attack by the visitors during the match.
It was the fourth loss for Thanh Hoa in 15 matches. They are now at third place with 29 points.
The match also saw a foreign referee working in the V-League for the first time in its history.
Japanese Ryuji Sato, who was one of the reasons for the Go Dau Stadium being almost filled to capacity, gave three yellow cards to players from both sides.
The FIFA referee is a familiar face to the Vietnamese as he adjudicated a match during the Asian Cup qualifier between Viet Nam and the UAE last November.
Earlier, he also worked in the 2012 AFF Cup and the Asian U19 Championships the same year. — VNS