V.League Preview: Thrilling matches expected between frontrunners

Friday, 2018-06-08 12:44:24
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Hanoi FC (in blue) are likely to conclude the first leg of the 2018 V.League without losing a game.
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NDO – The 12th round of the 2018 V.League is expected to give fans a lot of thrills, as the leaders Hanoi FC and fourth-placed Hoang Anh Gia Lai will play away to reigning champions Quang Nam FC and second-placed Quang Ninh Coal, respectively.

Quang Nam FC versus Hanoi FC

Quang Nam once ruined Hanoi’s dream of being crowned the V.League champions for the fourth time in the 2017 season. However, at the present time, it is really difficult for manager Hoang Van Phuc’s side to replicate the same feat against a capital team who have remained invincible so far this season.

Leading the title race with nine wins and two draws after 11 rounds of play, Hanoi FC have been showing a destructive power, with comprehensiveness seen in both attacking and defensive lines.

As for the Quang Nam side, after a sublime season beyond all expectations, the central team have seen their fortunes decline. With their foreign forward Claudecir losing form, the reigning title holders no longer pose a threat to their opponents.

The disappointing draws against bottom-group teams, namely Ho Chi Minh City, Saigon FC and Song Lam Nghe An, alongside the bitter loss to Quang Ninh Coal and Becamex Binh Duong, have kept Quang Nam bang average in the middle of the table. Therefore, it will be most unlikely for them to secure a positive result while hosting the in-form Hanoi FC at Tam Ky stadium on Saturday.

The prospect of winning even a single point is also fading away for Hoang Van Phuc’s side, as they are expected to miss the service of forward duo Claudecir and Ha Minh Tuan due to injuries.

Quang Ninh Coal versus Hoang Anh Gia Lai

Hoang Anh Gia Lai (in white) have now gone six V.League games without losing.

The June 9 clash between Quang Ninh Coal and Hoang Anh Gia Lai promises to be a centre-stage display in the 12th round, as both teams crave the full three points in their hopes of narrowing the gap on leaders Hanoi FC.

Hoang Anh Gia Lai have demonstrated an increasingly impressive form over recent times, and are currently on an unbeaten streak of nine games in all fronts, including both the V.League and National Cup battlefields. Manager Duong Minh Ninh’s side has taken three wins and three draws in the past six V.League matches, jumping to fourth place in the provisional table with 17 points.

Quang Ninh Coal are the second best performers since the beginning of the 2018 V.League season. They have scored seven points in their last three matches, reducing their gap with Hanoi to eight points and maintaining a four-point advantage over Hoang Anh Gia Lai.

The two teams have a balanced head-to-head record, winning two, losing two and drawing one in the past five meetings between them. However, the trips to Cam Pha stadium have never been a comfort for the Gia Lai team, as they have missed out on any victory during the past five away matches against Quang Ninh.

Given that fact, the Hoang Anh Gia Lai-Quang Ninh Coal encounter this weekend promises to be a thrilling spectacle for the fans.

Fierce as the race to escape relegation

Nam Dinh FC (in yellow) are currently at bottom place in the table with only six points after 11 matches.

As the 2018 V.League has reached the halfway point, the teams in the bottom group are all struggling for a run of results which will allow them a chance to escape relegation come the end of the season.

Newly promoted Nam Dinh FC are taking steps towards breaking out of the bottom place by playing out two consecutive draws against higher-rated Sanna Khanh Hoa BVN and FLC Thanh Hoa in the last two league matches. The V.League newbies will travel to the 2012 champions, SHB Da Nang, later today with the ambition of securing at least one point to foster their hopes of securing a spot in next year’s V.League. Tough as the mission is, it is not quite impossible for Nguyen Van Sy’s side, as the 2012 champions Da Nang have been playing under form so far this season.

The two teams placed right above Nam Dinh, Song Lam Nghe An and Saigon FC, will confront each other this weekend. Undoubtedly, both will enter the clash eager to take the full three points in their bid to beat the other and retain their V.League place.