Hà Nội FC celebrate winning the Vietnamese Super Cup on Saturday. Photo bongdaplus.vn
HÀ NỘI — As far as starters go, the 2021 Vietnamese Super Cup was more cold phở bò than delightfully tantalisingly crispy bánh xèo, not that winners Hà Nội FC will care.
The National Cup champions defeated 2020 V.League 1 winners Viettel 1-0 at Hàng Đẫy Stadium in Hà Nội on Saturday in the curtain-raiser for the domestic football season.
The glamour match-up between two of the country's best-supported sides was played in temperatures hovering at around 9oC, and the action on the pitch struggled to keep the 5,000 or so fans in attendance warmed up.
The first chance fell to Hà Nội captain Nguyễn Văn Quyết on the volley but the forward fluffed his lines and missed the ball completely before tumbling head over heels to the floor.
Late in the first half Hà Nội's Brazilian forward Bruno Cantanhede had the chance to open the scoring against his old club, but his powerful shot from the left side of the penalty area clipped the crossbar before flying over.
After the break as night fell and the temperature dropped the match sprang into life, with both sides carving out several half-chances.
It was to be the men in purple who broke the deadlock in the 74th minute when Quyết's cross found Geovane Magno, who was able to take his time and square the ball in front of the six-yard box after a slip by Viettel's Bùi Duy Thường. The Brazilian forward's pass found Bùi Hoàng Việt Anh who slotted home easily.
Viettel wanted a penalty for handball moments later as the ball ricocheted off Anh as he awkwardly cleared a cross, but the card-happy referee was unmoved by their remonstrations.
That penalty shout was the closest Viettel came to scoring and not long after the final whistle sounded, leaving Hà Nội to walk away with the prize money of VNĐ300 million (US$13,000) and the Super Cup, while Viettel took VNĐ200 million ($8,700). — VNS