V.League 1-2021

Defending champions Viettel slump to 1-0 defeat to Hai Phong

Sunday, 2021-01-17 10:19:24
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Viettel (in red) suffered an early setback in their title defence campaign with a 1-0 defeat to Hai Phong in their first match of the new season on January 16, 2021. (Photo: NDO/Tran Hai)
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NDO –V.League 1-2021 saw a series of surprises on its first matchday, as defending champions Viettel FC suffered a setback in their title defence campaign following a 1-0 defeat to Hai Phong in their first match of the new season on January 16.

>>> Flying high Nam Dinh rock last season’s runners-up Hanoi in season opener

Only a day after last year’s runners-up Hanoi FC suffered an early blow in a 3-0 shock defeat to Nam Dinh FC, it was Viettel’s turn to be handed their first defeat of the new season.

The highlight of the second round of the first matchday was the clash between Viettel and Hai Phong at Hanoi’s Hang Day Stadium on Saturday night.

The contrast between hosts Viettel - the reigning champions and Hai Phong - a team who struggled to avoid relegation in the 2020 season, made many think an easy victory was inevitable for the hosts led by coach Viet Hoang.

However, contrary to previous predictions, Viettel could not show their strength at home, letting the visitors dominate in the first half with good performances from their two foreign spearheads Andre Diego Fagan and Jermie Dwayne Lynch.

Hai Phong (yellow shirt) deserved the victory over defending champions Viettel. (Photo: NDO/Tran Hai)

Hai Phong’s dominance paid dividends in the 16th minute. After Fagan missed a chance in the box, the ball reached Nguyen Phu Nguyen and the Hai Phong midfielder easily slotted the ball into the empty net to open the scoring for the visitors.

Viettel sped up the game in the second half and had several other opportunities, but their strikers failed to score and they had to accept the 1-0 defeat in their first match of the new season.

Hai Phong fans cheer on from the stands at Hanoi’s Hang Day Stadium. (Photo: NDO/Tran Hai)

* On the same day, at Vinh Stadium, rookies Topenland Binh Dinh also surprised many with a draw against ten-man Song Lam Nghe An. Coach Duc Thang's side knew how to make good use of the red card that befell Nghe An’s captain Hoang Van Khanh in the 16th minute, thereafter taking the lead, thanks to a goal from Rimario in the 30th minute.

Unfortunately for them, in the 55th minute, following Thanh Hao's handball in the penalty area, Phan Van Duc equalised from the spot to make the score 1-1.

* Hosts Becamex Binh Duong got off to a good start as they beat visitors Thanh Hoa 1-0, thanks to To Van Vu’s goal in the 15th minute.

* Tonight (Jan 17), the remaining three matches of the 1st matchday will take place, with hosts SHB Da Nang playing Ho Chi Minh City at Hoa Xuan Stadium, hosts Hong Linh Ha Tinh encountering Quang Ninh Coal at Ha Tinh Stadium and Saigon FC welcoming visitors Hoang Anh Gia Lai at Thong Nhat Stadium.