Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — President Nguyễn Giang Đông of Sài Gòn FC said his team would not lose to anyone in the second leg of the V.League, which begins tomorrow.
Despite being a newcomer to the league under a young coach, Sài Gòn FC threw up a few surprises, going up and down the ranking table. The team, who moved from Hà Nội to HCM City, are now at No. 8 after 13 matches.
“A newcomer always has difficulty when competing in a high-level competition. We have to work hard to avoid the risk of relegation. The current position is a good result for us, and I am satisfied with it,” Đông said.
The team managers are preparing their own plans to improve results in the second period.
“We have made some changes. We will say goodbye to former Paris Saint-Germain striker Jean-Eudes Maurice and three Vietnamese players who failed to meet our demands and will welcome Santos Lima. Recently, we borrowed two local players, Hồ Ngọc Thắng and Nguyễn Xuân Nam, from SHB Đà Nẵng and Hà Nội T&T. They are expected to add a breath of fresh air to our team,” Đông said.
The president said the second leg would be much more challenging, but Sài Gòn would work hard at every game and was determined not to lose any games.
In moving to a new destination, the team have to gradually win local residents’ hearts.
“They (fans) are an important part of the team. Their support will be a strong motivating force, encouraging us while training and competing. We hope our effort and playing a beautiful game will cement their love for us.”
Their first opponent is Quảng Nam, who have the advantage of playing on home ground on Sunday.
Quảng Nam are one point ahead of Sài Gòn but stand two steps higher on the table.
Their first leg match ended 0-0 on April 17.
In another highlight, Hoàng Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) will have nearly one-third of their team unable to play tomorrow when they visit Cần Thơ for this round, as many of their players are currently busy taking the national high school exam.
The lack of players will be a major hurdle for the team who are close to being relegated.
After 13 matches, HAGL have 11 points and are at No. 12 on the leaderboard. They have only three points more than Long An, who are at No. 13.
“Seven players will not travel with us to Cần Thơ. Among them are Hồng Duy and Thanh Hậu, key players. Their absence will be a major problem,” said Nguyễn Tấn Anh, a HAGL official.
Other teams who have players taking part in the exam are Sài Gòn FC, Quảng Ninh Coal and Quảng Nam.
Cần Thơ also face a shortage of players, as three of their key players have been carded and cannot play.
Striker Patiyo Tambwe is the most important of these. With six goals, he is the top scorer of the team. The two others are Trung Anh and Nguyễn Công Thành, who always have permanent positions on the first team.
In Đà Nẵng, SHB Đà Nẵng will welcome FLC Thanh Hóa in a match where the winner will take the V.League’s second place.
In Nha Trang, Sanna Khánh Hòa will entertain defending champions Becamex Bình Dương.
Leader Hải Phòng will host bottom-placed Đồng Tháp, who just signed six new contracts to improve their strength at Lạch Tray Stadium.
Former winners Sông Lam Nghệ An will see Quảng Ninh Coal at Vinh.
In Hà Nội, Hà Nội T&T will welcome Long An, with the visitor’s No. 1 scorer Lê Văn Tân unavaiable due to a ligament injury. — VNS