10/11/2020 09:37 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

Viettel secure V.League 1 championship on dramatic final day of season

Viettel won the V.League 1 championship in a dramatic finale on November 8, thanks to a 1-0 win over Sai Gon FC.

The triumph marks a return to the top for one of the country’s most storied teams, who had a record 18 top-flight triumphs in their previous incarnation as The Cong (or Military Team) but fell from grace and endured several years in the lower divisions before returning to the highest level of local football just last year.

Coach Truong Viet Hoang's men came into the match knowing they would have to equal or better Hanoi FC’s result against Quang Ninh Coal, as the defending champions were a mere two points behind at kick-off on November 8.

While Viettel had more to play for, Sai Gon started brightly at Thong Nhat Stadium, determined to be more than a bystander at Viettel’s coronation.

The first goal of the day came in Quang Ninh, where Nguyen Quang Hai put Hanoi FC ahead and his side into first position about 12 minutes in, but their league table lead wouldn’t last long.

Just five minutes later, Viettel’s Brazilian forward Bruno Cunha scored the decisive goal with a superb far post header after a delicious free-kick delivery from midfield starlet Nguyen Hoang Duc.

Viettel had another pair of chances in the first half, with the best falling to Vu Minh Tuan, but his tame effort was easily saved.

Just before the intermission in Quang Ninh, Hanoi FC’s Nguyen Van Quyet doubled his side’s advantage, putting the pressure firmly on Viettel to hold strong and defend their slender lead.

In the second half, Hanoi FC cruised to a 4-0 win over Quang Ninh who had nothing to play for, while Viettel were made to sweat it out right to the final minutes.

While the second half was a tight affair and Viettel were unable to get a second goal and some daylight, in truth Sai Gon offered little attacking threat, bar some half-chances through set pieces and crosses.

As the final minutes ticked down Viettel did what they’ve done so well all season, namely defend with poise and comfort, as star defenders Bui Tien Dung and Que Ngoc Hai formed an impregnable rearguard.

When the full-time whistle went players, fans and coaches alike erupted into celebrations that undoubtedly went long into the night, as the country’s most storied team had secured their first title in 22 years./
VNA/VNP