Midfielder Đỗ Hùng Dũng (left) hopes to lead Hà Nội FC to the V.League 1 title. — Photo toquoc.vn
HÀ NỘI — It's championship or bust for Hà Nội FC in the V.League 1 this season, according to midfielder Đỗ Hùng Dũng.
"Finishing second is a failure for our club. Maybe in other clubs, second is a success, but for us, it is a failure," said Dũng, who won the Vietnamese Golden Ball award 2019.
"The players always train and compete with the best determination towards the top position in all the matches. Even when playing in the Asian events, we must aim for the title. I think it is a desire that Hà Nội can’t lack," Dũng added.
Hà Nội are unbeaten in nine matches and since the second leg of the season kicked off, the capital side have surged up the rankings to second place, only two points behind Viettel.
Despite an injury crisis, coach Chu Đình Nghiêm has been able to build a solid defence with young players mixed with wily veterans like Bùi Tấn Trường and Lê Tấn Tài, alongside foreign players like Rimario Gordon and Pape Omar Faye.
"Hà Nội’s biggest rivals are Viettel and Sài Gòn FC. We will play against them in the upcoming games. Viettel are in good shape and starting to find their way of playing. Viettel also have brave and experienced players who have competed in many major tournaments or won the V.League 1 title," said Dũng.
Today, defending champions Hà Nội will meet Becamex Bình Dương at Hàng Đẫy Stadium. In the previous match, Bình Dương lost by a goal to nil to Viettel also at Hàng Đẫy.
Race between Hà Nội and Viettel
According to pundit Vũ Mạnh Hải, the championship is likely to be a race between Hà Nội and Viettel as Sài Gòn have gradually run out of steam, while the teams Quảng Ninh and Bình Dương will also struggle to take the title.
“I once predicted that the championship race would be a competition among Hà Nội, Viettel, Sài Gòn and HCM City FC. After three matches of the second phase, Viettel showed their outstanding progress to win all three matches. While Hà Nội proved the first phase’s disappointing results were just an accident. They are coming back strong and following the leaders,” said Hải.
“While HCM City are a big disappointment. They are in turmoil, it is unclear for them how to play. The setback of Sài Gòn is expected because their squad can’t be compared with their opponents,” Hải added.
According to Hải, while Viettel may be top of the table and their good form has made for an exciting title race, they shouldn't count their chickens yet.
“I also think it will be difficult for Viettel are also difficult to win. Viettel are excellent, but Hà Nội are the strongest team. The championship race still has four games left, so the second-point gap is fragile. In the upcoming match, Viettel will take on Hà Nội. This is likely the final of the event,” said Hải.
Hải said that bravery is a particularly important factor at this stage of the season. Most of the players of Hà Nội are V.League 1 champions. Nguyễn Văn Quyết, Dũng, Phạm Thành Lương and many other players are used to playing with heavy pressure, while many Viettel players have never experienced the feeling of having to fight for every point.
“Therefore, I think the championship is still within the reach of Hà Nội,” said Hải. — VNS