|HCM City's Ngô Hoàng Thịnh lands a tackle to Đỗ Hùng Dũng of Hà Nội on Tuesday. Both will be sidelined because of the accident. VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI — Hà Nội FC midfielder Đỗ Hùng Dũng will be out of action at least six months after his leg was broken in a horrific tackle by HCM City FC midfielder Ngô Hoàng Thịnh during a V.League 1 match on Tuesday at Thống Nhất Stadium.
The 2019 Golden Ball winner will miss the rest of the domestic season and the national team's crunch World Cup qualifiers in June.
Thịnh looks likely to face a long time on the sidelines too, with the Việt Nam Football Federation (VFF) reportedly considering a one-year ban.
Dũng had successful surgery on Wednesday morning and will stay at the hospital for several days, according to doctors.
The incident happened in the 27th minute of the match when Thịnh mistimed a challenge on Dũng and connected with his planted right leg.
Dũng lay in agony, with a graphic replay clip showing his leg bending.
Thịnh immediately realised the seriousness of the situation and tried to help Dũng before medical personnel made it onto the pitch.
Dũng received treatment on the pitch for nearly 10 minutes before being taken to the hospital.
Referee Vũ Nguyên Vũ initially had a yellow card in his hand but eventually flashed a red card to send Thịnh off.
National team coach Park Hang-seo witnessed the accident from the stands and went down to the pitch to console his player after the injury.
The South Korean was so angry that he reportedly broke his mobile phone as he knew his key midfielder would miss the 2022 World Cup qualifying matches in June in the United Arab Emirates.
Park sent a letter to Dũng. He wrote: “I am really sad because of this accident. Dũng, you should try hard and do not lose your bravery. We will always be by your side."
After play resumed, Hà Nội’s Đỗ Duy Mạnh, skipper Nguyễn Văn Quyết and Geovane Magno all scored to give their side a hollow 3-0 win.
Television cameras captured Thịnh entering the ambulance to shake hands with Dũng and he visited him in the hospital later that night.
This show of compassion didn't quell the rising tide of online anger towards the man blamed for dealing a blow to Việt Nam's World Cup chances, forcing him to deactivate his verified Facebook account that night.
“No one wants such a terrible incident to happen. I was too eager to take the ball and run in to steal it. Unfortunately, Dũng suffered a broken leg. Honestly, I wish I could take his place and have suffered the injury myself,” said Thịnh on Wednesday morning.
Thịnh said he felt he deserved to be blamed and hoped Dũng would quickly recover and return to football.
Speaking at the post-match briefing, Ha Noi coach Chu Đình Nghiêm said players needed to be strong and decisive in football but also needed a cool mind and should think about their peers’ careers.
The VFF and league organisers will meet on Wednesday afternoon to determine Thịnh's punishment.
HCM City President Nguyễn Hữu Thắng said Thịnh would also receive a fine from the club.
Previously, defenders Quế Ngọc Hải and Trần Đình Đồng suffered three-month and 10-month bans for similar incidents. VNS