Trần Minh Vương (right) celebrates after scoring a goal in Hoàng Anh Gia Lai's 5-1 win over Hải Phòng on September 20. — VNA/VNS Photo Dư Toán
HÀ NỘI — Trần Minh Vương's hat-trick led Hoàng Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) to a priceless 5-1 victory over Hải Phòng in their battle to avoid relegation from the V.League 1 on Friday.
The home side's biggest win of the season helped them climb to 11th in the table on 29 points, four clear of the relegation playoff spot.
The first chance of the game at Pleiku Stadium fell to HAGL's Trương Trọng Sáng just eight minutes in, but he failed to beat Hải Phòng goalkeeper Phan Đình Vũ Hải.
The opener came in the 16th minute, as Brazilian forward Felipe Martins burst down the left side and played a ball across the box that Hải spilled, allowing Nguyễn Văn Toàn to tee up Vương for an easy finish.
The away side levelled things up after 31 minutes thanks to a blunder from HAGL goalkeeper Lê Văn Trường.
Trường came far out of his goal to catch a free-kick played into the box but couldn't get there, allowing Hải Phòng’s Andre Fagan to tee up Vietnamese-German midfielder Adriano Schmidt for an easy headed-finish.
The hosts turned the game on its head in the second half and Vương completed his treble with goals in the 51st and 67th minutes after two poor Hải Phòng mistakes.
National team star Văn Toàn made sure of the result with a goal in the 74th minute by breaking the offside trap and an assist for Martins six minutes later.
Despite their best efforts, Hải Phòng were unable to get back into the game and even had a Jeremie Lynch penalty saved in the 85th minute.
The win pushed Hoàng Anh Gia Lai to 11th on 29 points while Hải Phòng are No 9 with 30 points, and both sides are still in danger of the drop.
In a later match in the same day, Quảng Ninh drew with Quảng Nam 1-1 in third place and HCM City secured second place this season after beating Sài Gòn FC 3-1.
Viettel played at home but drew with Becamex Bình Dương 2-2, leaving the former fourth from bottom on 28 points.
The last two matches this weekend are Thanh Hóa against SHB Đà Nẵng and Khánh Hoà versus Nam Định tomorrow.
While No 8 SHB Đà Nẵng just need a win to be safe this season, Thanh Hóa are in danger as they are second from bottom and have lost their last six matches.
In an effort to stay in the V.League 1, the team has appointed Hoàng Thanh Tùng as technical director. He led the team to finish third in the 2016 season.
Khánh Hòa have been in the bottom for most of the season but still have a chance to stay up if they can beat Nam Định at home and results elsewhere go their way.
Khánh Hòa have never lost to Nam Định. They beat Nam Định 2-1 earlier this season at Thiên Trường Stadium on April 6. — VNS