HCM City FC most likely challengers to Hanoi FC in V.League 2020 title race: AFC

Friday, 2020-06-05 16:48:54
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V.League 2020 resumes Friday after a two-month break due to COVID-19. (Photo: AFC)
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NDO – Ho Chi Minh City FC could well be Hanoi's most likely challengers for the V.League 2020 title as Vietnam’s top flight league resumes Friday (June 5) following the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

>>> V.League Matchday 3 Preview: Hanoi FC-HAGL clash takes centre stage

The continental football management body recently ran an article which spoke highly of the return of V.League after about two months off due to COVID-19 prevention.

“Vietnam's top flight will become the latest of Asia's leagues to return to action when V.League 1 resumes on Friday after a near two-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” it noted.

And what makes AFC even more impressive is that the V.League matches will be able to take place with the cheer of football fans on the stands, instead of being forced to play behind closed doors like other leagues around the world at this time.

They elaborated - “And in further positive news for football fans across Vietnam, matches will not be played behind closed doors, with authorities allowing spectators into stadiums as the country continues to return towards normality.”

Founded in 1980 in a semi-professional capacity before moving into the professional era at the turn of the Millennium, the V.League has enjoyed a steady rise in popularity over recent years, the-AFC.com wrote, adding that last season's AFC Cup ASEAN Zonal final between Hanoi FC and Becamex Binh Duong suggesting some of the strongest club sides in Southeast Asia now hail from Vietnam.

In its article, the continent's largest soccer authority also listed 14 the football teams competing in this season’s V.League, along with detailed descriptions of their head coaches, star players and their recent performances.

In particular, AFC praised the reigning champions Hanoi FC: “Boasting a number of established internationals including the hugely talented Nguyen Quang Hai and the experienced Nguyen Van Quyet and complemented by Senegalese striker Pape Omar Faye and the reliable presence of Ugandan Moses Oloya in the centre of the park, Hanoi will likely be favourites to pick up yet another title”.

The article also said that Ho Chi Minh City FC would be the biggest rivals for Hanoi in the race to the title: “Ho Chi Minh City FC could well be Hanoi's most likely challengers after running the eventual champions close last season before finishing second in a two-horse race after they lost their penultimate game of the campaign,” it said, adding that Jung Hae-seong's side strengthened in the off-season, bringing in one of Vietnam's biggest stars in Nguyen Cong Phuong as well as Guinea-Bissau striker Amido Balde, once of Scottish giants Celtic.

However, with a strong squad and many outstanding achievements, the reigning champions also made no secret of their ambition to successfully defend their championship trophy. In an interview published by the-AFC.com today, Hanoi’s captain Van Quyet also revealed the team's ambitious goal, which is its aim for the third consecutive title in the 2020 season. “This year the management has set us the major goal of winning the championship for the third successive year,” Quyet told the AFC, admitting that there is pressure but the players “have something huge to strive for and are extremely motivated.”

The V.League 2020 matchday 3 schedule. (Photo: V.League)

After a two-month suspension, the 2020 V.League will officially return from today with the first three matches from Matchday 3. The defending champions will continue the defence of their title with a key home clash at Hang Day Stadium against visitors Hoang Anh Gia Lai tomorrow night.

Vietnamese football officially resumed previously, welcoming fans from May 23 with matches in the two first rounds of the 2020 National Cup, officially marking Vietnam as the first country in Southeast Asia to resume normal football activities, after the COVID-19 epidemic was brought under control in the country.

Both the V.League and the National Cup are set to finish at the end of October in order to ensure sufficient training time for the men’s national team in the remaining months of the year.