STALEMATE: Hà Nội FC defender Đoàn Văn Hậu (left) challenges Hoàng Anh Gia Lai FC striker Nguyễn Văn Toàn during their V.League 1 match yesterday in Pleiku. The match ended 0-0. VNA/ VNS Photo Dư Toán
HÀ NỘI — Hà Nội FC missed a chance to narrow the gap with V.League 1 leaders HCM City after a goalless match against Hoàng Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) yesterday.
The defending champion’s misery was compounded when key defender Trần Đình Trọng was stretchered off at Pleiku Stadium.
Trọng returned to action yesterday after a two-match ban because of red card, but only lasted 38 minutes before he caught his foot in the ground and went down with what appeared to be a knee injury, putting the national team defender in danger of missing the King’s Cup in Thailand next week.
The 22-year-old returned from several weeks’ treatment in South Korea in March for another injury.
The defender left the pitch in tears, and the loss seemed to weigh down his team, who were unable to score in the first half.
The second half saw both sides creating more opportunies.
Ha Noi’s star playmaker Nguyễn Quang Hải nearly had the opening goal in the 49th minute but his volley was saved.
The home side’s Chevaughn Walsh also had an opportunity six minutes later but his effort flashed wide.
Ha Noi manager Chu Đình Nghiêm sent Hoàng Vũ Samson, one of the league’s leading scorers, onto the field to hunt for a goal late on, but to no avail.
The draw keeps Hà Nội in second place on 22 points, four behind HCM City who lost 2-0 to Đà Nẵng on Wednesday.
HAGL are in eighth with 15 points.
In Bình Dương, Becamex Bình Dương beat Sanna Khánh Hoà 1-0 thanks to Hồ Tấn Tài’s goal in the 70th minute.
Sài Gòn played on home turf drawing 2-2 to former champions Sông Lam Nghệ An. Võ Ngọc Toàn and Hồ Tuấn Tài scored for the visitors while Pedro Paulo and Lê Quốc Phương netted for the hosts.
Up north, Quảng Nam trounced Hải Phòng away by three goals to nil. Hà Minh Tuấn scored in the 66th and 80th minute marks before Nguyễn Hoàng Quốc Chí put the icing on top three minutes before the end, securing their first win in six games.
The league will be off for a week when national players compete in the King’s Cup on June 5-8 and the U23s play a friendly against Myanmar on June 7.
Matches will return on June 13 as HCM City take on Thanh Hoá, while Hà Nội face Sài Gòn. — VNS