|Clash of titans: Hải Phòng players seen during a match in the first leg of the V.League. Hải Phòng will host SHB Đà Nẵng this weekend. — File Photo|
HÀ NỘI — The match between Hải Phòng and SHB Đà Nẵng will be the focus of the V. League’s Round 17 this weekend.
Hải Phòng are the leaders with 34 points while SHB Đà Nẵng are in third place, six points behind.
A win will help Hải Phòng strengthen their top position while SHB Đà Nẵng may take the second place in case FLC Thanh Hóa do not beat defending champions Becamex Bình Dương.
Hải Phòng grabbed two draws in a row in their last two matches but it was on away grounds. They are, however, very powerful when playing at home, as they have not lost any match at Lạch Tray Stadium. After eight matches, they have won six and drawn two.
In this match, Teofilo Soares Eydison will be the key striker of SHB Đà Nẵng who said goodbye to James Torace, while their best forward Gaston Merlo is sidelined because of yellow cards.
Since playing for Đà Nẵng, Brazilian Eydison has scored three goals.
SHB Đà Nẵng President Bùi Xuân Hòa said his team would take all opportunities to beat their rivals for the cup.
He said the match was important, because if they won they would narrow the gap with Hải Phòng, and it would make the race to the podium more exciting.
SHB Đà Nẵng beat Hải Phòng 2-0 in the first leg game.
Becamex Bình Dương strongly dominated the V. League in two recent seasons but they are struggling in this year’s event which runs three fourths of its period and they are at No 8.
A 1-0 win over Quảng Ninh Coal last week pushed them up a little bit after five matches in a row without a win.
Prior to leaving for Thanh Hóa, the team managers steadily confirmed that their target was to defend their title.
Their personnel problem was solved when their key players, midfielder Nguyễn Trọng Hoàng and defender Trương Đình Luật, returned after their bans.
FLC Thanh Hóa, who have 29 points, also showed their determination to compete for the top place.
A win over Becamex Bình Dương will at least maintain the four-point lead with Hải Phòng and also create intense pressure on the leader.
In their first leg match, FLC Thanh Hóa created a bang with a 3-0 win, marking their first victory at Gò Đậu Stadium in two years.
Their only disadvantage was that technical director Lê Thụy Hải could not be present with the team because of his two-match ban.
However their rivals were exhausted with a National Cup match three days ago against Quảng Ninh Coal.
Elsewhere, Đồng Tháp are isolated at the bottom and they are closest to relegation. They will travel to Nha Trang to play Sanna Khánh Hòa.
Long An are next to Đồng Tháp and trying to escape from the SOS area. They will meet with hosts Quảng Ninh Coal at Cẩm Phả.
Hoàng Anh Gia Lai are more confident after beating Hà Nội T&T 1-0 last week. The team of youngsters, third from the bottom, will visit Quảng Nam.
Cần Thơ will welcome newcomer Sài Gòn in a match between two teams who stand at the middle of the ranking.
Two former champions Hà Nội T&T and Sông Lam Nghệ An will meet at the Hàng Đẫy Stadium.
Coach Chu Đình Nghiêm of Hà Nội T&T said his team would focus on each match and would grab any chance coming to them. — VNS