V.League Review: Hoang Anh Gia Lai break into top four

Friday, 2018-06-01 18:17:42
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Favourite striker Nguyen Cong Phuong seals a precious triumph for Hoang Anh Gia Lai by firing an eye-catching powerful strike from long distance.
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NDO – Hoang Anh Gia Lai have caught up with the frontrunners in the provisional V.League standings following their impressive 1-0 victory over one of the title favourites, FLC Thanh Hoa, in the tenth round of play on May 30. The stunning breakthrough for manager Duong Minh Ninh’s side has made this year’s title race more thrilling than ever.

After a shock fifth-round defeat against Saigon FC, Hoang Anh Gia Lai demonstrated a completely different side, remaining invincible in the five consecutive matches (three wins and two draws) to move up from near the bottom group to fourth place in the table. During their unbeaten streak, Xuan Truong and his teammates have scored a total of seven goals resulting in 11 points, a highly impressive result. Favourite striker Nguyen Cong Phuong sealed a precious triumph for the away team by firing an eye-catching powerful strike from long distance.

By getting their foothold in the table’s top four, Duong Minh Ninh and his players have ignited their hopes of keeping pace with the leaders Hanoi FC en route to the overall trophy of the 2018 season. Meanwhile, the winning goal will surely give a strong boost to Cong Phuong’s confidence, inspiring him towards performing even more brilliantly in the future to live up to the expectations of fans nationwide.

Despite not being fully quenched, the thirst for victory of a number of teams was relieved to some extent thanks to draws in the tenth round of play. Ho Chi Minh City halted their four-game losing run with a goalless tie against reigning champions Quang Nam FC. The draw did not do enough to improve HCM City’s position in the table, but it could mark a turning point in their efforts to overcome their current difficult period. Newly promoted Nam Dinh FC enjoyed the same relief, as they unexpectedly held higher-rated Sanna Khanh Hoa BVN to a 1-1 score. The precious point won at Nha Trang stadium helped the V.League newbies to narrow the gap with the second last team, Saigon FC, who suffered the heaviest loss of the round, losing 1-5 to former champions Becamex Binh Duong.

FLC Thanh Hoa and Hai Phong were the two home teams bitterly beaten this round. Hai Phong fell 0-1 against guests Quang Ninh Coal in the last few minutes of the match. Meanwhile, Thanh Hoa recorded the same result while receiving Hoang Anh Gia Lai. Ahead of the matches, both Hai Phong and Thanh Hoa were rather confident and ready for the title race in the leading group. However, the unexpected tenth-round defeats kept them rooted to eighth and ninth position, respectively, in the provisional table. The other home losers were Song Lam Nghe An, who were defeated 1-2 by the leaders Hanoi FC, the most impressive performers so far this season.

Concluding the tenth round, the middle group of the standings has become increasingly cramped, with very narrow gaps between the teams. Meanwhile, the two ends of the table remained unchanged, as Hanoi FC and Quang Ninh Coal continue to reign on top, while Nam Dinh FC, Saigon FC, and Song Lam Nghe An remain stuck at the bottom.

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