Five talking points from V.League 2019 Matchday 25

Sunday, 2019-10-20 10:27:55
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HAGL forward Nguyen Van Toan (in white) in action during their V.League match against HCM City on October 19.
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NDO – The penultimate matchday of the 2019 V.League saw newly promoted Viettel, Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL), Nam Dinh FC and Hai Phong FC officially escape relegation this season, while Thanh Hoa FC and Sanna Khanh Hoa BVN are named for the relegation play-off and direct relegation tickets.

* Hoang Anh Gia Lai defend V.League status after nail-biting win against HCM City

Here following are five talking points from the latest V.League action.

1. Viettel, HAGL, Nam Dinh and Hai Phong defend V.League status

Nam Dinh FC players celebrate scoring a goal against Hai Phong FC in their match on Saturday.

HAGL, Viettel and Nam Dinh all clinched their full three points on the penultimate matchday, on Saturday, to move up with more than three points clear of the relegation zone. With only one game left to play in the 2019 season, the aforementioned teams have officially safeguarded their V.League berths regardless of the results of the remaining league matches.

Despite their loss against Nam Dinh, Hai Phong FC have successfully rescued themselves from relegation with one game in hand, as they are now up five points above the two bottom teams, Thanh Hoa FC and Sanna Khanh Hoa.

2. Thanh Hoa closer to First Division

Thanh Hoa’s disappointing form continued as they surrendered 1-3 to Viettel at home in the penultimate matchday on Saturday. The hosts trailed three goals behind before getting a consolation goal thanks to Pham Van Hoi three minutes from stoppage time.

The poor result cost Mai Xuan Hop’s side dearly, bringing them level with bottom-placed Sanna Khanh Hoa on 25 points. With the unexpected defeat, Thanh Hoa no longer have the right to self-determine their fate in the last matchday.

3. A bright outlook for Khanh Hoa to make relegation play-off

Sanna Khanh Hoa and Saigon players in action during their Saturday match.

Despite their victorious ambition to push Thanh Hoa down to the bottom, Sanna Khanh Hoa were unexpectedly held to a goalless draw by Saigon FC in their Matchday 25 meeting on October 19.

However, the door is still widely open for Vo Dinh Tan’s side to qualify for the relegation play-off match, as on the last matchday, Oct. 23, they will play guest to HAGL, who have already achieved their goal to escape relegation with one game in hand.

Meanwhile, second-from-bottom Thanh Hoa are predicted to have a tough match against Becamex Binh Duong, who are bound to push hard for a home victory to wrap up the 2019 season in the top three.

4. Tien Linh shines again for Binh Duong

Forward Tien Linh is named the "Man of the Match" after scoring a brace against SHB Da Nang.

After contributing a goal to Vietnam’s 3-1 victory over Indonesia in the World Cup qualifiers, Nguyen Tien Linh again became the protagonist in the clash between SHB Da Nang and Becamex Binh Duong at Hoa Xuan Stadium on V.League matchday 25.

Following a goalless first half, the 22-year-old forward shined brightly in the second, claiming a brace to hand the guests a 2-0 victory, which allows Nguyen Thanh Son’s sides to continue fostering their top-three hopes this season.

5. The bronze medalists yet to be decided

While the first and second spots in the V.League table have already been confirmed (Hanoi FC and Ho Chi Minh City FC, respectively), the top-three race will proceed until the last matchday, with equal opportunity given to the three teams of Quang Ninh Coal (third, 36 points), Becamex Binh Duong (fourth, 35 points) and Song Lam Nghe An (fifth, 34 points) to claim overall third.