|Hoàng Anh Gia Lai’s captain Lương Xuân Trường (left) seen competing in the National Cup match on Tuesday. Hoàng Anh Gia Lai will play Cần Thơ on Saturday. — Photo anninhthudo.vn|
HÀ NỘI — Team managers of Hoàng Anh Gia Lai said they would try their best to finish in the top five of the V.League competition.
The team was eliminated from the National Cup on Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters after the loss, coach Dương Minh Ninh said: “Hoàng Anh Gia Lai have not won the National Cup yet. We really wanted to win it this season. However, now we have to focus on the V.League and target a top-five finish.”
Hoàng Anh Gia Lai, who rank ninth, will play against Cần Thơ, No 5, in an eighth-round match at the Cần Thơ stadium tomorrow.
Cần Thơ stand four places above Hoàng Anh Gia Lai, but there is only a single point gap between them. A win over the hosts will help two-time winner Hoàng Anh Gia Lai improve their ranking and get closer to their goal.
Đoàn Nguyên Đức, owner of the Hoàng Anh Gia Lai club, is confident of his team’s ability. He said his team, with many young players trained by the club’s academy, was not an easy rival anymore.
“Their great performance is not a surprise. They have been playing well for a long time. They are getting better since we have had the South Korean technical director from the beginning of this season. I believe that V.League teams now have to reserve our power. Playing with us will be challenging,” Đức said.
Their rival Cần Thơ are coached by Đinh Hồng Vinh, who used to work with Hoàng Anh Gia Lai in the past, which is why Cần Thơ have nearly the same playing style of short ball and passing the ball quickly as Hoàng Anh Gia Lai.
In another match of this round, Sông Lam Nghệ An will have the chance to avenge their loss of 0-1 to Quảng Nam in their National Super Cup match in February.
Sông Lam Nghệ An are in a good position after two wins against SHB Đà Nẵng at the National Cup’s quarter-finals. Striker Hồ Tuấn Tài and midfielder Phan Văn Đức have scored consecutively.
They will be joined by key players — Osmar, Ngọc Toàn and Phúc Tịnh — who are ready to get back in action after sustaining injuries.
On the other side, Quảng Nam are yet to deliver their best. The reigning champions are at the 10th position with eight points, just two points more than Sông Lam Nghệ An at No 13.
Their foreign striker, Dos Reis Claudecir, and 2017 Golden Ball winner Đinh Thanh Trung have not found their form.
Their poor performance led to their loss of 1-3 to Becamex Bình Dương at the National Cup on Tuesday.
One of their hopes is that Quảng Nam are a good team when playing on the home turf.
They won all three matches at the Tam Kỳ stadium. Among the three teams, only Sài Gòn could score a goal. FLC Thanh Hóa lost 0-1 and Sanna Khánh Hòa drew them 0-0.
Sông Lam Nghệ An, who have only had a single match on away ground this season, will be the fourth visitors to Tam Kỳ.
Meanwhile, Thanh Hóa will face Quảng Ninh Coal with confidence tomorrow after their National Cup win.
Coach Nguyễn Đức Thắng is hoping for his first win since he took charge of the team last month.
Thanh Hóa are at No. 7 and have not won three matches in a row.
Quảng Ninh are second in ranking although many of the key players left the team for other clubs ahead of the season.
Midfielders Nguyễn Hải Huy and Thanh Hiền and striker Mạc Hồng Quân will not be able to play in the coming match as they are serving a ban.
In other games, SHB Đà Nẵng will face HCM City, Sanna Khánh Hòa will meet Sài Gòn, Becamex Bình Dương will host Hải Phòng and Nam Định will entertain Hà Nội. — VNS