HÀ NỘI — Defending V.League 1 champions Hà Nội FC take on Sài Gòn and both sides are desperate for a win before the league takes a three-week break.
The game will be held at the Hàng Đẫy Stadium in Hà Nội.
The capital team are second in the table on 22 points, trailing HCM City FC by four points, while Sài Gòn FC have 18 points and rank fourth.
Hà Nội go into the game with a depleted squad, with star national team midfielder Nguyễn Quang Hải perhaps the biggest name set to miss out.
“We decided to let Hải have a rest. He caught a slight cold and is overloaded after playing in the King’s Cup in which Việt Nam were runners-up,” said coach Chu Đình Nghiêm of Hà Nội.
The playmaker is a key man for his club side as well as the national team, and has competed in no less than six tournaments in recent months, namely the Asian Cup, the qualifying round of AFC U23 Championship, the King’s Cup, the AFC Champions League’s qualifiers, the AFC Cup and the V.League.
Besides Hải, Hà Nội will also have to do without defenders Trần Đình Trọng and Đoàn Văn Hậu, who are also both national team regulars.
National team defender Trọng will need about four months to recover from an injury he suffered late last month, while Hậu is serving a suspension for picking up three yellow cards.
However, striker and captain Nguyễn Văn Quyết will return after being injured since April in the AFC Cup.
Following the game with Sài Gòn, Hà Nội will leave for the Philippines to prepare for the match with Ceres Negros in the AFC Cup’s zonal semi-finals on June 18.
In other fixtures today, Quảng Nam will meet winners Becamex Bình Dương at the Tam Kỳ Stadium.
Quảng Nam are second from bottom and need a result to escape the relegation zone.
The last round before the break will continue with two matches on Saturday. At the Thiên Trường Stadium in Nam Định Province, hosts Nam Định will take on Đà Nẵng, while top team HCM City will welcome high-flying Thanh Hóa at their hometurf, the Thống Nhất Stadium.
Elsewhere this weekend, former champions Hoàng Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) will face Sông Lam Nghệ An and bottom-placed Sanna Khánh Hòa will fight rookie Viettel. — VNS