Da Nang stunned Song Lam Nghe An 3-1 at home yesterday in the most anticipated match of the 20th week of the V-League season.
Tough encounter: Midfielder Cao Sy Cuong (right) of Ha Noi T&T vies for the ball with a defender from Long An in their V-League clash on Saturday. Ha Noi won 2-0. — VNA/VNS Photo Quoc Khanh
HA NOI —
Maestro Nguyen Minh Phuong, who won the Golden Ball award for the best Vietnamese footballer of the year, opened scoring 21 minutes into the game.
Song Lam Nghe An strikers missed several chances to even the tally late in the first half.
One minute before the break, France's Kalifa Dembele lobbed the ball from Argentinean Gaston Merlo's left cross to beat Nghe An's keeper Quoc Cuong and boost the host to a 2-0 lead.
In the 67th minute, Merlo broke through Nghe An's defence to score a perfect third goal for the host into the far corner.
Nghe An sped up the pace with a goal by Nguyen Hong Viet in the 83rd minute but they were down to 10 men when Brazilian-born Nguyen Hoang Helio was sent off with two yellow cards.
The win moved Da Nang to second place in the V-League with 35 points, four points behind leaders Song Lam Nghe An.
Ha Noi T&T, who beat Dong Tam Long An 2-0 in an away match on Saturday, rank third with 34 points after 20 matches.
In other matches yesterday, Senegalese Faye Pape Omar scored four goals to help Thanh Hoa crush two-time champion Binh Duong 4-1, while Hoang An Gia Lai cruised to a 4-2 win over Hai Phong at Pleiku Stadium.
Dong Thap place fifth after beating Ha Noi ACB 3-0, while Khanh Hoa were held to a 1-1 draw by Navibank Sai Gon.
Hoa Phat Ha Noi edged Ninh Binh 2-1 at Ha Noi's Hang Day Stadium.
Khanh Hoa and Long An rank at the bottom after the week's play and face relegation this year.
Brazilian Evaldo Goncaves still leads the top-scorer list with 18 goals after 20 matches. He is followed by Merlo, 17, and Nigerian Samsom Kayode, 16.
There are seven weeks remaining in the V-League season. —VNS