|Coach Phan Thanh Hùng (centre)and Quảng Ninh players ahead of their training. Quảng Ninh will play Đà Nẵng in the National Cup’s quarter-final, second leg today. — Photo motthegioi.vn|
HÀ NỘI — A 0-3 loss to SHB Đà Nẵng in the first leg match of the National Cup’s quarter-finals has placed Quảng Ninh Coal in a difficult situation in the second leg match today.
It will be tougher for them to defend their title, as they will have to play at the Hòa Xuân Stadium, which is Đà Nẵng’s lucky ground where the hosts have got positive results since they moved to this new home ground several months ago.
Coach Phan Thanh Hùng also does not have his best players, as veteran midfielders Nguyên Sa and Xuân Hùng will be sidelined with injuries.
Doubts have also been raised over the ability of foreign striker Patiyo. He has scored but has not scored as many goals as in the same period last year.
On the other side, Đà Nẵng displayed outstanding performance with eight goals in two matches in the National Cup.
They have become more "dangerous" with the comeback of Vietnamese-Argentinean striker Đỗ Merlo, who has been a goal hunter for not only the team but also the league in recent years.
Merlo not only has scored, but also assisted his teammates for goals, as in the first leg he netted one and played a role in two other goals.
The former Cup champions also have history on their side. In their previous meetings, Quảng Ninh was able to tie with Đà Nẵng only once in their many encounters on Đà Nẵng’s home turf.
To have a chance for the next round, Đà Nẵng only need a draw, while Quảng Ninh must win at least with four goals and stop Đà Nẵng’s sharp strikers from netting.
In another match in Quảng Nam, hosts Quảng Nam will take on Cần Thơ. They also need a draw to enter the semi-finals after a 3-1 win last week.
Having the same win of 3-1 last week, Sông Lam Nghệ An have to protect their advantage at the Thống Nhất Stadium against HCM City FC’s ground today.
While the hosts have their strongest line-up, Sông Lam Nghệ An’s national defender Quế Ngọc Hải may not take part in the game after suffering from a stretched ligament.
In the last match of the day, Becamex Bình Dương may feel relaxed ahead of their clash against Sài Gòn FC. They won 3-2 in the first leg and will be on home ground today versus Sài Gòn, who are without their defender Nguyễn Quốc Long.
Long is reported to have torn the tendon of his little toe, which could keep him out for at least two weeks.
The Đà Nẵng vs Quảng Ninh match will be aired live on VTV6 channel, while the other games will be live on Việt Nam Professional Football Company’s youtube channel. — VNS.