Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Bottom-of-the-league Nam Định FC want to earn points when they meet former champions Hoàng Anh Gia Lai in the fourth round of the V. League this weekend.
Nam Định, who were just promoted to the National Premier League this year, currently have just one point after three matches and arrived at the Central Highland city of Pleiku several days before the match.
“We are here early so our players can recover after a long journey. It is just the start of the tournament but we have gained much experience from playing in the V. League. We must try in every match to make sure that we can stay in the league,” said coach Nguyễn Văn Sỹ.
“We understand that it will be tough for us and it has proven to be during first three matches. We only have one point. I must really encourage my players to work together to fix our problems. Our inaccurate finishing is the main reason for our poor results,” he added.
The former national team defender also admitted that his two foreign players have not integrated well with the team and kept up with the pace of the tournament, but he hopes that they will try harder and help Nam Định in the coming matches.
“In the match with Hoàng Anh Gia Lai, we will try to take home at least one point,” he said.
The host side have also not reached their best form, earning just two points from two matches.
Against Nam Định, they will not have talented midfielder Nguyễn Tuấn Anh, who only returned to action this season but is sidelined again after injuring himself last week.
Other players, such as striker Nguyễn Công Phượng and midfielders Lương Xuân Trường and Vũ Văn Thanh, have spent a lot of energy at the Asian Cup qualifying match against Jordan last week, and may not be in their best form.
Nguyễn Đức Thắng, the coach of Sông Lam Nghệ An, also wants a surprise result against FLC Thanh Hóa this week.
The former V. League winners have not done well in recent seasons and the same is happening this year, after achieving only one draw and being ranked fourth from the bottom.
However, their remarkable result at the AFC Cup is a strong motivation to do well in the local competition.
Sông Lam Nghệ An are top of Group H in the tournament and have nearly qualified for the next stage.
Thắng and his players have prepared extensively for the match, and they arrived in Thanh Hóa four days ahead to practice.
“We were not lucky in our first few matches, but we are confident about being the visiting team against Thanh Hóa. Apart from the injured Ngọc Toàn, our other players are in good condition,” said Thắng, who also expressed his worries about the four players who just completed their national duty this week.
“They just came home after a long trip from Jordan and only joined the team for two training sessions. They may not be on their best form on Sunday. Thanh Hóa has spent a lot of money on the squad and coach, but I think that they have not found their rhythm. It will be an opportunity for Sông Lam Nghệ An,” Thắng added.
Hà Nội FC will welcome back their captain, Nguyễn Văn Quyết, after his ban from last season. However, they have a list of injured players ahead of their visit to Becamex Bình Dương at the Gò Đậu Stadium.
Defender Đoàn Văn Hậu and two midfielders, Nguyễn Thành Chung and Trương Văn Thái Quý, who have been injured since January’s Asian U23 Championship, are not yet fit to play.
Coach Chu Đình Nghiêm also has the midfielder Duy Khánh and defender Văn Dũng, who suffered from a herniated disc, while Quang Hải, Đình Trọng and Duy Mạnh have just returned home from Jordan.
After three games, Hà Nội are second with six points and one match to play.
Bình Dương will have their best players available, including national striker Nguyễn Anh Đức, who scored a goal in Việt Nam’s 1-1 draw against Jordan.
In the other matches, Quảng Ninh Coal will play defending champions Quảng Nam at home, Sanna Khánh Hòa will face HCM City FC, SHB Đà Nẵng will entertain Sài Gòn FC, and Hải Phòng will host Cần Thơ. — VNS