Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Thanh Hoá maintained its position on top of the V.League table after their 2-0 win over Sanna Khánh Hòa in the weekend’s second round .
The visitors worked hard but failed to find their hosts’ net in the first half.
In the second half, they came back strongly, finally breaking Khánh Hoà’s defence at the 64th mark.
Hoàng Văn Bình received a ball which came bouncing to him following a commotion in the penalty area. Making a canon shot, Bình opened the visitors’ account.
Uche Iheruome then doubled the score with a narrow angle finish 13 minutes later.
Although they won the match, Thanh Hoá lost the service of their captain for the next match.
Senegalese player Pape Omar Faye was shown the red card for slapping Khánh Hoà’s captain Văn Vũ following a scuffle between the players of the two teams.
While on his way back to the tunnel, Faye made a rude gesture towards the spectators.
Khánh Hoà’s right defender Nguyễn Đình Nhơn will also be rested in the next round, as he was sent off for trying to hit Faye.
Speaking with reporters at a post-match briefing, coach Ljupko Petrovic of Thanh Hoá said he was happy with his team’s second win, despite his players showing only 60 per cent of their power and making mistakes.
The Serbian coach said he did not want to talk about Faye’s red card but agreed the captain’s attitude towards the spectators was unacceptable. He said he had spoken to the Senegalese striker, who had expressed regret for his conduct.
Thanh Hoá will next welcome Long An, who are placed third, in their next match while Khánh Hoà will visit Sông Lam Nghệ An, who had a 1-1 draw with Cần Thơ on Saturday.
With their midfielder Lê Thế Cường back in action, the former champions put in a much better display.
He created ample opportunities for his teammates in the front line, but they failed to score until the 69th minute when Henry Shackiel netted in from a straight shot.
Coach Vũ Quang Bảo of Cần Thơ strengthened his side with two changes, adding Quang Tình and Văn Thành in the midfield who provided strong support to their forwards.
However, during extra time, the national team’s halfback Quế Ngọc Hải made a mistake. In an attempt to block the ball, he scored an own goal and levelled the result for the visiting side.
It was the second own goal for Sông Lam Nghệ. Defender Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng made the first one in the team’s first-round match when it lost 0-2 to Thanh Hoá on January 8.
Cần Thơ, sitting at No 10, will entertain former champions Becamex Bình Dương, who are placed 11th, in the next round.
In the last match of the second round, Sài Gòn FC downed SHB Đà Nẵng 2-1.
Two foreigners Patrick Dos Santos Cruz and Marcelo Fernandes scored for Sài Gòn while new signee Hà Đức Chinh netted for SHB Đà Nẵng.
It was the second win for Sài Gòn giving them the second position in the table.
“Two wins are nothing at this time of the tournament. It will, however, encourage my players who are on ice water to recover quickly for the next match,” said coach Nguyễn Đức Thắng of Sài Gòn.
“The wins also show how we prepare for the tournament because we are targeting higher position this season,” he added.
Coach Lê Huỳnh Đức of SHB Đà Nẵng said his team deserved to score more goals.
“Today, we wasted many chances and let Sài Gòn score two early goals. However, I am satisfied with my team’s spirit, they did their job. Our problem is scoring,” said Đức after the game.
The coach said the poor performance of the team was partly due to the absence of its key striker Đỗ Merlo who was out with injury.
“Without Merlo, our strength has been hit. He scored one goal per match on an average last season. He has to rest for eight weeks due to broken toes and he will need another four weeks to get back his fitness. It will be a long time,” he said.
With three points, SHB Đà Nẵng is ranked eighth and will face No 4 Quảng Nam, while Sài Gòn will meet HCM City in a derby match on January 18. — VNS