V.League Review: Hanoi’s 13-game unbeaten run ends

Tuesday, 2018-06-19 12:42:45
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Saigon players celebrate after beating Hanoi FC on home field.
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NDO – Hanoi FC’s run of 13 matches without losing in the 2018 V.League came to a surprising halt with their shocking 2-5 defeat at Saigon, who were second from bottom ahead of the encounter. Such a result was hard to believe but well worth the constant resurgence efforts made by manager Phan Van Tai Em’s side on a rainy afternoon that negatively affected the guests’ skillful playing style.

Hanoi started the match impressively, cruising into the lead thanks to Oseni’s fourth minute opener, but dropped all by themselves with time running out. What’s worth saying is that the no. 1 defensive line in the V.League conceded five goals, more than half of those they have conceded since the beginning of the 2018 season. Hanoi’s defenders lacked concentration and could not prevent Mauritanian forward Da Sylva from netting a second poker of the tournament, following that of forward Nguyen Tien Linh (Becamex Binh Duong).

The humiliating loss has caused little harm to Hanoi’s leading position in the title race, as they are still ten points clear of second-placed Quang Ninh Coal in the provisional table. However, it deprived them of the chance to become the first league champions to play a whole season unbeaten in history.

Oseni's goal is not enough to rescue Hanoi FC from their first defeat of the 2018 V.League season.

In addition to Saigon, last weekend’s 14th-round matches saw the positive results for some of the other bottom-group teams against their much higher-rated opponents. At Thien Truong stadium, newly promoted Nam Dinh FC opened the scoring after 26 minutes but had to share points with Quang Ninh Coal who equalised four minutes before the hour mark. Despite failing to break out of bottom place, the draw with second-placed Quang Ninh can be seen as an encouraging result for manager Nguyen Van Sy and his players, as it helps to bridge the gap with the teams placed above.

Song Lam Nghe An moved up to fourth from bottom following their 2-1 away win over former champions Becamex Binh Duong. It was the second consecutive triumph for the former V.League giants since their 1-2 defeat at Saigon in the 12th round of play.

The alarming bell is ringing for Japanese Toshiya Miura's seat as the manager of HCM City.

The alarming bell is ringing for Japanese tactician Toshiya Miura’s seat and Ho Chi Minh City’s relegation prospects, after the southern team succumbed to a straightforward 0-2 loss to Hai Phong at Lach Tray stadium. Miura’s team have gone nine consecutive games without a win in all competitions, and are now at risk of being relegated, as they are only three points ahead of bottom-placed Nam Dinh FC, a fragile gap that could be equalled after just one more game.

Hoang Anh Gia Lai have also been plunged into crisis, with their 1-2 loss to SHB Da Nang last weekend being their third league defeat in a row. Once climbing to fourth position this season, the recent poor run has pushed manager Duong Minh Ninh’s side down to ninth place in the provisional standings.

>>> V.League: Hanoi FC suffer shock defeat at Saigon