|Hà Nội B (red) is ready for an October 13 play-off against Nam Định at Vinh Stadium. — Photo news.zing.vn
HÀ NỘI — Hà Nội B, now called Hà Tĩnh, will meet Nam Định in the V.League 2018 play-off at Vinh Stadium on October 13 for a ticket to play in Việt Nam’s top division next year.
Nam Định are in the play-off after a 1-1 draw with fellow top-flight relegation candidates Cần Thơ. Head coach Nguyễn Văn Sỹ announced that the People’s Committee of Nam Định Province pledged to give the club $856,620 should the team stay in the first division.
Experts expressed surprise that Hà Nội B made it to the play-off. At the start of the season, Công An Nhân Dan (CAND) and Bình Định were favourites to be in V.League 1 in 2019.
Hà Nội B head coach Phạm Minh Đức admitted his target at the start of the season was to stay in V.League 2 at all costs. “Most of our players are young,” he said. “Our goal was to remain in the League.”
Hà Nội B struggled early in the season, earning just three points in its first four matches – a stretch that included a 0-3 home loss to Huế. But the group managed to turn around its season, eventually finishing in the top three.
“The board of directors told me to keep the team in the top three,” Đức said. “During that time, we had an eight-match winning streak. In the play-off, we must stay focused and try our best. If we play well and have a bit of luck, we will win.”
“Hà Nội B has embraced its young identity,” he said. “I watched the match between Cần Thơ and Nam Định and I feel we are well prepared.”
Only 16 Hà Nội B players will play for the newly renamed Hà Tĩnh in the fixture. If the match is tied after 90 minutes it will go to penalty kicks to decide a winner. — VNS