Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — The 2018 V.League 1 wrapped up on Monday with seven matches at stadiums nationwide, ending with XSKT Cần Thơ relegated to the V.League 2.
Though Hà Nội FC had long-since secured the title, there was plenty to play for, with bottom-placed Cần Thơ hosting second from bottom Nam Định FC, with a win for either side condemning the other to relegation. Elsewhere, Sanna Khánh Hoà faced FLC Thanh Hoá to determine second place.
On home soil, despite scoring the opening goal, XSKT Cần Thơ could only muster a 1-1 draw against Nam Định, leaving the Mekong Delta side contemplating life in the second tier. Meanwhile, Nam Định face a place in the relegation playoff with the 2018 First Division runners-up, Hà Nội B.
The relegation six-pointer began well for the home side, with Cần Thơ’s forward Wander Luiz scoring the opener with his head from midfielder Phương Tâm’s free kick in the 5th minute.
Seemingly unsure whether to press on for more goals or to defend their lead, Cần Thơ were pegged back by the visitors in the 28th minute, with Nam Định midfielder Hữu Quý scoring inside the penalty area. The first half ended 1-1.
In the second half, coach Vũ Quang Bảo of Cần Thơ threw on midfielders Út Cường and Thanh Long in search of the winner. Meanwhile, the visitors slowed the game down, seemingly content with the draw.
In the 76th minute, Út Cường’s dangerous free-kick was saved by experienced goalkeeper Thiện Esele of Nam Định, which was the closest Cần Thơ came to a winner.
Towards the end of the match, the visitors chose to slow the game down further and were rewarded with a 1-1 draw and a stay of execution.
With the draw, Cần Thơ finished with 21 points after 26 matches, three points below Nam Định, and exited the top division.
At the Thanh Hoá Stadium, FLC Thanh Hoá acquired a narrow win 1-0 against Sanna Khánh Hoà, enough for them to finish second, three points ahead of the visitors on 46 points.
Elsewhere, Becamex Bình Dương defeated Hoàng Anh Gia Lai 3-1, SHB Đà Nẵng defeated Than Quảng Ninh 3-2 while the matches between Sài Gòn and QNK Quảng Nam, Sông Lam Nghệ An and Hồ Chí Minh City, and Hải Phòng and Hà Nội ended 4-1, 1-0 and 1-0 respectively.
Hà Nội FC won the title with 54 points. — VNS