Football fans are hoping for a match of classic proportions when V-League giants SHB Da Nang and Becamex Binh Duong play each other at the Chi Lang Stadium tomorrow.
Clash of the titans: Gaston Merlo of SHB Da Nang (second left) vies for the ball. Da Nang will play Becamex Binh Duong tomorrow. — VNA/VNS Photo Van Son
HCM CITY —
The encounter cannot but recall one of the best matches seen in national football in recent years – the AFC Cup match last year at the same venue when these teams produced a closely fought, fast-paced match that is still talked about today.
Every time Da Nang scored a goal to go ahead, Binh Duong would fight back and gain parity, keeping the fans of both teams on the edge of their seats till the end. Da Nang eventually edged out Binh Duong 4-3 to reach the quarter-final.
There are some grounds for expecting a repeat performance of last year's close encounter. The host team is in good form and Binh Duong needs a win.
In addition, both teams have many players of top quality like Gaston Merlo and Nguyen Minh Phuong for Da Nang; and Leadro de Oliveira and Philani for Binh Duong.
Both teams were also strong pre-season contenders for the V-League title but only Da Nang has so far lived up to that billing, currently in second place with 20 points. Binh Duong, meanwhile, has struggled to the seventh place with just 13 points.
The 11th round of the V-League kicks off today with two early fixtures. Hai Phong will be hoping they will not add to the long list of draws they have collected so far this season. The port city will take on defending champions Ha Noi T&T at the Lach Tray Stadium.
The visitors have had a decent run recently with the return of star striker Cong Vinh and the impressive form of young midfielder Nguyen Van Quyet, who has been an unlikely top scorer for the team with five goals so far.
In the other early match, Hoa Phat Ha Noi, third from the bottom, will take bottom-placed Dong Tam Long An at Hang Day Stadium.
Both teams desperately need wins to be in the running for avoiding the relegation zone. A win will help Hoa Phat put some more distance between them and the relegation zone while a full point will provide a much needed boost for Long An, who have just one point from their last four games.
On Sunday, current leader Song Lam Nghe An, who just suffered a humiliating defeat in Asian Football Confederation Cup against Sriwijaya of Indonesia despite their opponents being one man down. Now they will have a chance to make amends against second from bottom placed Ha Noi ACB.
At Pleiku Stadium, the encounter between Hoang Anh Gia Lai and Navibank Sai Gon promises to be an exciting game with both needing a win to improve their ranking. Gia Lai is sixth place with 14 points and while the HCM City-based team fell to 12th place after two successive defeats.
Ninh Binh will have a difficult trip to Dong Thap, always a hard nut to crack at home. Khanh Hoa, meanwhile, will pay an away match against Lam Son Thanh Hoa. — VNS