V.League 1-2021 Matchweek 9

Cong Phuong’s last-gasp penalty helps HAGL edge past Nam Dinh FC

Tuesday, 2021-04-13 09:10:38
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Striker Nguyen Cong Phuong (in white) contributes a brace to HAGL's 4-3 victory against Nam Dinh FC on April 12. (Photo: VPF)
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NDO – Striker Nguyen Cong Phuong successfully converted a penalty in the dying seconds as Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) battled to a 4-3 home victory over Nam Dinh FC in V.League 1 at Pleiku Stadium on April 12.

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The centre-stage match of Round 9 took place in nail-biting fashion with an exciting chase of seven goals. It had been looking like an absolute win for HAGL as they cruised to a 3-0 lead after only 28 minutes, but Nam Dinh proved things were not so easy for the hosts.

Nguyen Van Sy’s side fought back to equalise the score before Cong Phuong struck the winning goal to hand HAGL their fifth consecutive league triumph, thus helping them retain hold on top of the table with three points clear.

Inspired by the home-advantage, HAGL proactively attacked right from the start and went two goals in front within the first nine minutes.

Cong Phuong opened the scoring with a low drive toward the far bottom corner in the seventh minute before Minh Vuong skewed a long-range volley to double their lead just two minutes later.

HAGL's Minh Vuong celebrates scoring their second goal. (Photo:VPF)

After missing some opportunities, HAGL found their third goal in the 28th minute, with Van Toan converting the resulting penalty into his sixth goal of the season following Wesley’s infringement on HAGL forward Brandao in the box.

Nam Dinh created few highlights in their attacks, but they managed to pull a goal back late in the first half as midfielder Hoang Xuan Tuan fired an unstoppable rocket toward the far high corner from a distance of 30 metres to put an end to the hosts’ five-game run of clean sheet.

After the break, HAGL slowed down their pace to defend their advantage and wait for counterattacks. Prior to the match, they had scored five times from counterattack situations. However, Kiatisuk’s tactics did not work in the Monday game.

The hosts wasted attacking opportunities and conceded a second goal in the 64th minute as Nam Dinh were awarded a penalty and striker Rodrigo made no mistake in shooting past goalkeeper Tuan Linh to revive their hopes for a resurgence.

The pinnacle of thrill came during the four minutes of stoppage time. The first minute saw Nam Dinh reduced to 10 men after captain Lam Quang Anh was shown a second yellow card for his elbow hit on HAGL’s Dung Quang Nho.

Despite that fact, Nguyen Van Sy’s side showed a never-surrender fighting spirit and levelled the game one minute later with Doan Thanh Truong picking up Xuan Tan’s cross and firing a shot past keeper Tuan Linh.

However, Nam Dinh’s joy was short-lived as they were dealt a critical blow immediately afterwards. In an attacking situation on the right flank, Van Thanh delivered a cross at the hand of Nam Dinh centre back Wesley, thus earning the hosts a penalty. From the spot, Cong Phuong easily beat goalkeeper Xuan Viet to secure a thrilling win for Kiatisuk’s troops.

The fifth successive victory has kept HAGL firmly on the top of the table, three points clear of title holders Viettel FC and four above Quang Ninh Coal.

On the same day, Thanh Hoa FC and Hai Phong FC played out respective 1-1 and 0-0 draws against Ho Chi Minh City and SHB Da Nang. Meanwhile, Song Lam Nghe An claimed a 2-0 home win against Becamex Binh Duong.

V.League 1-2021 Table - Matchweek 9