|Sanna Khánh Hòa and Hoàng Anh Gia Lai seen in V.League 1 this year. They face the risk of relegation. Photo daidoanket.vn|
HÀ NỘI While the V.League 1 title looks to be heading back to Hà Nội, everything's to play for at the bottom end of the table.
Every team from third all the way down to 14th could potentially be relegated and with only five rounds of fixtures left the tension is high.
The race for the title is easier to predict as Hà Nội FC sit on 43 points, five ahead of HCM City and 12 points in front of third-placed Quảng Ninh Coal.
With only one automatic relegation spot at the bottom of the table and one playoff position at 13th, the margins are fine.
Bình Dương, who are in fifth place, are only ahead of bottom-placed Sanna Khánh Hòa by nine points.
Mid-table teams like Quảng Nam FC, SHB Đà Nẵng, Nam Định and Viettel also have plenty to worry about.
Following a loss against Quảng Nam in injury time at Thiên Trường Stadium last weekend, Nam Định dropped three spots in the table to eighth position and only seven points clear from automatic relegation.
In the remaining matches, Nam Định will face fellow strugglers Sanna Khánh Hòa, Hải Phòng and Sài Gòn FC as well as the top two teams.
According to coach Nguyễn Văn Dũng of Nam Định, his team need four or six points in the upcoming matches to ensure their safety.
Teams can relegate
Among candidates for relegation, Thanh Hóa, Hoàng Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) and Sanna Khánh Hòa seem most likely to fall.
With a 0-3 loss to Bình Dương at Gò Đậu Stadium, HAGL slipped to second from bottom.
Manager Nguyễn Tấn Anh of HAGL said referees’ errors had led to his side's misfortunes.
“Referees didn’t manage well and put my players under pressure in terms of psychology. They felt they weren't protected. They weren’t confident and couldn’t play well,” said Anh.
Recently, the Việt Nam Football Federation’s referee board announced assistant referee Nguyễn Trung Nam committed a serious error in the match between HAGL and Bình Dương. Hồ Sỹ Giáp of Bình Dương was in an offside position but Nam failed to raise his flag so Giáp made the score 2-0 for his team.
HAGL will take on HCM City, Đà Nẵng, Sài Gòn FC, Hải Phòng and Sanna Khánh Hòa in the remaining games of the season, with Khánh Hòa looking like a six-pointer at this stage.
Today, Khánh Hòa will face former champions Quảng Nam at Tam Kỳ Stadium in Quảng Nam Province and attempt to climb off the canvas. VNS