Source: Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Ahead of the penultimate round, Chu Dinh Nghiem’s side stood in third with 33 points, five behind Viettel and one adrift of Saigon. They headed into the Wednesday match at Hang Day Stadium with no other choice than to seal a victory to foster hopes of lifting the overall trophy.
Given that fact, Hanoi players proactively deployed attacks in the opening minutes and cruised ahead after just nine minutes thanks to Rimario’s close-range header.
Pressure was maintained by the hosts with opportunities created for Quang Hai, Van Quyet and Thanh Luong, but none were successfully converted. Such wastefulness forced Hanoi to pay in the 40th minute as Geovane stole the ball from Moses in midfield and dribbled it past defender Van Hau before beating goalie Tan Truong to level the score.
(Photo: NDO/Tran Hai)
The defending champions produced a perfect start to the second half, with Quang Hai skewing an eye-catching volley to restore their advantage after just two minutes, which was then extended to 3-1 by Thanh Luong with a narrow-angle finish five minutes later.
Hanoi added a fourth goal in the 66th minute thanks to Van Toi’s attempt, thus dealing a heavy blow to the visitors’ ambition to turn the game around.
Shortly afterwards, Pedro took advantage of goalkeeper Tan Truong’s mistake to pull back a goal for Saigon FC, which helped the Brazilian forward remain the top scorer of the season (12 goals) but was not enough to inspire Vu Tien Thanh’s side to a successful comeback.
With such a humiliating defeat, Saigon’s title hopes have gone up in smoke, but their role in the title race remains significant. On the last matchday (November 8), if the southern team are defeated by Viettel FC on home field, Hanoi FC will become the former champions regardless of the result of their encounter against Quang Ninh Coal.