V.League preview: Relegation race remains fierce until last minutes

Tuesday, 2019-10-22 17:08:21
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Sanna Khanh Hoa BVN (in blue) will have to beat Hoang Anh Gia Lai (in white) tomorrow to stand a chance to qualify for the relegation play-off match.
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NDO – The 2019 V.League relegation race will come to an end on October 23 as the result of the last-matchday fixtures will decide whether Thanh Hoa FC or Sanna Khanh Hoa BVN are entitled to direct relegation ticket this season.

After Matchday 25 last weekend, a series of teams, who had been in danger of relegation (including Hoang Anh Gia Lai, Nam Dinh FC, Hai Phong FC and Viettel), have successfully retained their V.League status with one game in hand thanks to the poor display of the two bottom teams, Thanh Hoa and Sanna Khanh Hoa.

Level on 25 points, both Thanh Hoa and Khanh Hoa have to wait until the end of tomorrow’s Matchday 26 clashes to know which one will be relegated to the First Division next season. The advantage is now in favour of Thanh Hoa thanks to their better head-to-head record against Sanna Khanh Hoa (drawing 2-2 in the first leg and winning 3-2 in the second leg). An away victory against Becamex Binh Duong will allow Mai Xuan Hop’s side to preserve their current 13th place (second from bottom) as well as secure a place in the relegation play-off match against 2019 First Division runners-up Pho Hien FC, regardless of the result of the match between Sanna Khanh Hoa and Hoang Anh Gia Lai.

It is true in theory, but in fact, Thanh Hoa’s Wednesday trip to Go Dau Stadium is predicted to be a stormy one, as Becamex Binh Duong will have a great chance to clinch the overall bronze medal if they bag full three points on the last matchday. Nguyen Thanh Son’s side are now only one point behind third-place Quang Ninh Coal, who hosts reigning champions Hanoi FC on home turf. This will be a tough game for the home side, as the capital team are surely looking towards a positive result to add more joys to their trophy presentation ceremony after the match at Cua Ong Stadium.

Thanh Hoa players look disappointed after a forgettable season.

This is the reason that makes the Becamex Binh Duong-Thanh Hoa FC clash hotter than ever. Undoubtedly, Binh Duong will fight strongly for three points, which is also the same goal set by the guest side. If missing out on a win, Thanh Hoa can definitely wrap up the 2019 season at bottom of the table, accompanied by a direct relegation ticket.

The aforementioned concerns are completely explainable when Thanh Hoa’s direct opponents, Sanna Khanh Hoa, only have to meet Hoang Anh Gia Lai, who have no more goals after having successfully retained their V.League status on the previous matchday.

The survival battles are waiting for both Thanh Hoa and Khanh Hoa. The chance to escape relegation only comes to the side who exert the greatest efforts, and of course alongside the factor of luck.

Given the significance of the last matchday, the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) and the Vietnam Professional Football Company (VPF) have decided to invite two FIFA referees from Singapore to officiate the Binh Duong-Thanh Hoa and Hoang Anh Gia Lai-Khanh Hoa clashes. All the seven matches of Matchday 26 will take place at 5pm on October 23.