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Source: Socialist Republic of Vietnam

Following are five talking points from the latest V.League 1 action.

Viettel safeguard top spot from Hanoi FC’s threat

Viettel players celebrate their opening goal.

One day after being surpassed by reigning champions Hanoi FC, who edged out Becamex Binh Duong 2-1, Viettel FC resumed their lead in the title race by narrowly defeating newbies Hong Linh Ha Tinh 1-0 thanks to Trong Dai’s superb long-range strike.

The victory has lifted Truong Viet Hoang’s side two points clear of their city rivals, thus increasing the “heat” for the Hanoi derby between the two teams three days from now. The October 29 clash is considered an “early final” of the 2020 V.League 1, because the winners will take a significant step towards clinching the overall trophy.

Saigon FC and Quang Ninh Coal remain title candidates

Saigon FC players celebrate their victory against HAGL.

Viettel FC and Hanoi FC have now been emerging as the odds-on favourites for the 2020 V.League 1 crown; however, Saigon FC and Quang Ninh Coal have still remained the potential candidates, with these two chasers having bagged the full three points against Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) and Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), respectively, over the weekend.

Saigon and Quang Ninh are level on 31 points, just one point behind second-placed Hanoi FC and three adrift of leaders Viettel. They will meet each other on October 29 and then take on Viettel and Hanoi, making the remainder of the title race well worth waiting for.

HAGL slump to fourth successive defeat

HAGL (in white) have gone four consecutive matches without a single point.

HAGL have been the poorest performers so far in V.League 1’s second phase as they remain the only team to be empty-handed following four consecutive defeats, most recently a humiliating 2-4 loss against Saigon FC.

Despite possessing a strong lineup with many national team members, HAGL’s capabilities are not equal between the positions, while their foreign players have yet to live up to expectations. Given such facts, what they have been experiencing in V.League 1 is not something so surprising to everyone.

Hai Phong FC successfully escape relegation

Hai Phong FC became the latest team to have successfully avoided relegation this season following their nail-biting 3-2 win over Nam Dinh FC in the penultimate round of Group B (relegation race).

The victory has lifted them a single point clear of bottom-placed Quang Nam FC, a gap that cannot be cleared with only one game left to play. Meanwhile, the loss has put Nam Dinh under even greater pressure as they are edging closer to relegation with only a two-point lead above Quang Nam.

Quang Nam FC earn significant victory

Quang Nam FC continued to foster hopes of securing a V.League 1 berth next season with a 3-1 home win against SHB Da Nang on Sunday.

The 2017 champions are sitting at bottom with 15 points, two behind Nam Dinh FC. On the last matchday of Group B, these two teams will clash against each other to determine who will be relegated to the First Division tournament.

MIL OSI Asia Pacific News