HCM City vs Hà Nội in the V.League 1’s first leg. On Friday, the two sides will meet again at Thống Nhất Stadium. — VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam's top two football teams clash on Friday and the result will go a long way to determining this year's title winner.
Second-placed Hà Nội FC travel to take on league leaders HCM City, and with the two teams separated by a single point, the game couldn't be more important.
The Thống Nhất Stadium side are on 34 points, while the defending champions from the capital have 33.
In recent years, teams from the southern city like Sài Gòn FC and HCM City have been more used to relegation scraps than title challenges.
However, this year, HCM City have played sublimely from the start of the season, led by South Korean coach Chung Hae Seong.
“We are not sure that we will win the league this year. But for us, every match is a final. We will try our best to gain the best result. HCM City’s football hasn’t had good results during the past years, however, this year will be a special year for HCM City,” said Chung.
Chung said his team are itching to get revenge for their single goal to nil defeat away to Hà Nội earlier in the season.
Meanwhile, Hà Nội are gunning for their fifth league title.
The away side are considered a miniature version of the national team thanks to their strong contingent of top Vietnamese players, which added to their foreign stars makes for a deadly combination.
In the last round, HCM City drew with Thanh Hóa 2-2, while Hà Nội crushed Sài Gòn FC 4-1, giving the away team this golden opportunity to get back on top.
“I think HCM City are a strong team. They play very stably. They have a good defence and attack. However, Hà Nội will have the best preparation for the match,” said star midfielder Nguyễn Quang Hải of Hà Nội.
“For me, scoring a goal or not is not important. The most important thing is that I make every effort to contribute to the team. Also, in the last match against Sài Gòn FC, I scored one goal which gives me more confidence,” Hải added.
Elsewhere on the same day, Becamex Bình Dương take on Hải Phòng.
On Sunday, Đà Nẵng face Sài Gòn FC, Khánh Hòa meet Quảng Ninh, Thanh Hóa take on Hoàng Anh Gia Lai, Nam Định play Sông Lam Nghệ An and rookies Viettel face former champions Quảng Nam. — VNS