Five talking points from V.League 2020 Matchday 1

Monday, 2020-03-09 18:23:01
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Hanoi FC players celebrate their victory against Nam Dinh FC. (Photo: VPF)
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NDO – After days of waiting, the 2020 V.League finally kicked off at stadiums nationwide last weekend, witnessing the early formation of a two-horse title race between the top two finishers of last season, champions Hanoi FC and runners-up Ho Chi Minh City.

>>> Josep Mpande’s superb goal earns Hai Phong away win against Thanh Hoa

>>> Hanoi FC make light work of Nam Dinh to lead V.League

Let’s take a look at some talking points from the latest V.League action.

Hanoi FC demonstrate themselves as odds-on title favourites

Hanoi FC captain Nguyen Van Quyet (no. 10) in action during their home match against Nam Dinh FC. (Photo: VPF)

Hanoi FC demonstrated their power as reigning V.League champions by making light work of Nam Dinh FC 4-2 at home to move to the top of the table.

Despite heading into the match lacking some key players, Chu Dinh Nghiem’s side still proved superior to their rivals, with Do Hung Dung, Nguyen Van Quyet and Pape Omar troubling Nam Dinh’s defensive line.

Hanoi FC showcased its efficiency in attacks by scoring the most goals of the weekend, thus establishing themselves as the odds-on favourites for the 2020 V.League trophy.

Ho Chi Minh City show off strength with stunning comeback

Ho Chi Minh City show themselves as the candidates for the title.

Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) proved themselves major counterweights of Hanoi FC in this year’s title race with a stunning 3-1 comeback win against Quang Nam FC. While the capital team demonstrated their superior power, Chung Hae-seong’s side showed their mental toughness and bravery in difficult circumstances.

Despite falling behind in the 62nd minute, HCMC proved why they are considered a candidate for the title, as they promptly equalised thanks to Ngo Viet Phu before sealing a convincing away win with a double from Nguyen Xuan Nam in the last minutes of play. The 3-1 scoreline was also the second widest margin amongst the seven Matchday 1 fixtures.

All matches played behind closed doors

Empty stands at Hang Day Stadium where the Hanoi FC-Nam Dinh FC clash takes place.

As decided by the organisers, all the seven fixtures of Matchday 1 were played behind closed doors with empty stands due to the complicated developments of the acute respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19).

Medical check-ups were compulsory for both correspondents and functional forces before their entrance into the stadiums. There were even no exceptions for the teams’ players and coaching staff. This was considered an extremely necessary move amid the risk of a widespread COVID-19 outbreak in Vietnam.

V.League newbies suffer a losing start

Hong Linh Ha Tinh manager Pham Minh Duc gestures during their match with Viettel FC.

Newly promoted Hong Linh Ha Tinh delivered an encouraging display in their V.League debut keeping a clean sheet throughout the first 86 minutes of their home clash against Viettel FC. During that period, Ha Tinh goalkeeper Quang Tuan made eight brilliant saves, particularly the use of his leg to block Bruno’s powerful penalty (64’).

Given their resilience in defence and bravery in attacks, it seemed the newbies would conclude their first V.League match with a draw. However, they conceded a solitary goal a few minutes from full time.

Hong Linh Ha Tinh’s great efforts were undeniable, but they are still inferior to other competitors in terms of V.League experience. Manager Pham Minh Duc will have a huge workload in order to realise the goal of avoiding relegation at the end of the season.

Vietnam coach Park Hang-seo completes isolation, attending Phan Van Duc’s match

Vietnam head coach Park Hang-seo (L) and his language assistant Le Huy Khoa attend the V.League match between Saigon FC and Song Lam Nghe An on March 8.

On the afternoon of March 8, head coach Park Hang-seo of Vietnam’s national and U23 teams appeared at Thong Nhat Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City to watch the V.League match between Saigon FC and Song Lam Nghe An. Earlier, the Korean tactician self-isolated himself for the full 14 days after returning to Vietnam from his hometown amid the COVID-19 fears. Coming back to work, Park paid special attention to his national team players, including Song Lam Nghe An midfielder Phan Van Duc, who have just recovered from knee ligament injury.