|Neck and neck: Becamex Binh Duong striker Le Cong Vinh (right) vies for the ball with neutralised forward Hoang Vu Samson of Ha Noi T&T during their match yesterday at Hang Day Stadium. — VNA/VNS Quoc Khanh
HA NOI (VNS) — Becamex Binh Duong extended their gap with the other V-League 1 team after their 2-2 draw with Ha Noi T&T yesterday in the capital city.
The match was the league's first controlled by a foreign referee.
Former national striker Nguyen Anh Duc had a double at the 17th and 24th minutes. It was sandwiched between Ha Noi T&T's Gonzalo Damian Marronkle's goal at the fourth minute and Pham Van Thanh's goal at the 64th.
It was a good result for the defending champions Binh Duong as in the six latest matches, they lost five and had one draw.
Binh Duong now have 42 points after 21 matches, staying on top of the rankings.
Ha Noi T&T are at the fifth position with 34 points – two less than Hai Phong, which is in third place.
They have a chance to compete for a berth in the top three, as there are five matches to go before the end of the season.
In other matches yesterday, Can Tho were defeated 0-3 by Sanna Khanh Hoa on their home turf yesterday. Former national midfielder Le Tan Tai opened the score on the rebound seven minutes after the interval.
Can Tho missed their chance when Wasiu Akanni Sunday's header hit the cross bar some 10 minutes later. Nguyen Dinh Nhon and Nguyen Hoang Quoc Chi grabbed their goal in the last 10 minutes of the match.
The win kept the visitors at the fourth position, with a chance to make it into the top three. Meanwhile, Can Tho maintained at the SOS area with 17 points after 21 matches. Can Tho rank 12 out of 14 teams.
Dong Nai caught up with them on points, but ranked lower due to the goal difference.
Yesterday they surprised with a 5-2 win over Thanh Hoa, which is in second place.
In another match, former champions Song Lam Nghe An beat Quang Nam 3-2.
The result did not affect their rankings, as Song Lam Nghe An are at No 7 and Quang Nam at 11.
Graechen loses job
Hoang Anh Gia Lai yesterday fired coach Guillaume Graechen after the team's 13th loss at the V.League 1.
The central highland club lost on Saturday 0-1 to Dong Thap, narrowing their chance to stay within the national premier league, as there are only five rounds left and the team remains at the bottom position.
Goalkeeper coach Nguyen Quoc Tuan will temporally take charge of the team, while Graechen returns to work as a trainer at Hoang Anh Gia Lai JMG-Arsenal Academy.
"After two-thirds of the league games, Graechen has shown his great effort, but the team has not won, as we expected. We decided to let him return to his coaching job at the academy. Coach Tuan will manage the rest of the season," said Nguyen Tan Anh of Hoang Anh Gia Lai management board.
"I appreciated what Graechen has done and really wanted him to continue with the team till the end of the season. However, this is an important time, so I want a change which can push my team up," said Doan Nguyen Duc, boss of Hoang Anh Gia Lai.
"Hoang Anh Gia Lai are having a tough time, but I always believe in our chance of staying in the V.League 1," he said.
Graechen came to work at the academy in 2007 and became coach of his first team eight years later.
Before his selection, South Korean Choi Yoon-gyum was with the team for three seasons.
Earlier, Dusit Chalermseng of Thailand was coach, but he only managed for several months during the first leg of the 2011 season before being replaced by local coach Huynh Van Anh.
In other activities on Saturday, referee Tran Dinh Thinh issued two red and nine yellow cards in a match in which hosts Quang Ninh Coal beat Hai Phong 2-1.
At the same time, former champions SHB Da Nang enjoyed their first win after two losses, with a 7-3 victory over Dong Tam Long An. — VNS