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LS V.League 1-2020 promises exciting matches as curtain raised

by NDO06 March 2020 Last updated at 14:00 PM

Reigning champions Hanoi FC remain the odds-on favourites for the overall trophy in the 2020 V.League season.
Reigning champions Hanoi FC remain the odds-on favourites for the overall trophy in the 2020 V.League season.

VTV.vn - After a period of delay amid the COVID-19 fears, curtains will officially be raised on the LS V.League 1-2020 this afternoon (March 6).

The first two fixtures of the new season will take place later today, with Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) hosting 2019 third-place Quang Ninh Coal FC at Pleiku Stadium and Quang Nam FC taking on reigning runners-up Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) at Tam Ky Stadium.

As decided by the organisers, the Matchday 1 matches will be played behind closed doors due to the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic. This is a considerable disadvantage for HAGL as they must play a tough Quang Ninh Coal side who have promptly stabilised their force and warmed up with games in the AFC Cup. The addition of forward duo Fagan and Lynch (both from Hai Phong FC) has helped to enhance the attacking power of Phan Thanh Hung’s troops. However, despite possessing a good attacking line, the efficiency in defence remains an issue of concern for HAGL after a 2019 campaign of conceding up to 46 goals.

Last season’s ninth-place finishers Quang Nam FC will also face a tough opening test against on-form HCMC, who are flying high with their AFC Cup campaign thanks to the new contract, Nguyen Cong Phuong. HCMC’s recent 3-2 away victory against Singapore’s Hougang United was the third consecutive match in which Cong Phuong scored for Chung Hae-seong’s side. Phuong’s brilliant scoring form, together with the supplementation of foreigners Diakite and Balde, will surely inspire the 2019 runners-up’s attacking line, winging their title ambition this season.

Reigning champions Hanoi FC will play host to Nam Dinh FC at Hang Day Stadium on March 7 in one of the centre-stage fixtures of Matchday 1. Despite their pre-season quality contracts, including forward duo Do Merlo (from SHB Da Nang) and Rafaelson (once playing in J.League), it seems that the supplementations are still not enough for Nam Dinh to stand on par with hosts Hanoi FC. Chu Dinh Nghiem’s side remain the odds-on favourites for this year’s trophy, as they currently have the best squad in V.League with a number of national team members, in addition to the recent signing of striker Rimario from Thanh Hoa FC. Inspired by their commanding 6-1 triumph last season, Hanoi FC are expected to comfortably win the full three points against Nam Dinh this Saturday.

At Ha Tinh Stadium, newly promoted Hong Linh Ha Tinh will take on last year’s newbies Viettel with the hope of earning points. To serve the goal of avoiding relegation, manager Pham Minh Duc has made timely supplementations in all the three positions, including a foreign trio and a new captain – veteran midfielder Le Tan Tai. Nonetheless, the hosts will certainly face numerous difficulties against an extremely ambitious Viettel side. Under the dynasty of new manager Truong Viet Hoang, Viettel have continued to strengthen their force by signing goalkeeper Nguyen Manh and midfielder Ho Khac Ngoc, both from Song Lam Nghe An. With foreign duo Caique Lemes and last season’s top scorer Bruno Cunha, alongside a lineup of quality domestic players, such as Hoang Duc, Duc Chien, Viet Phong, Tien Dung, Que Ngoc Hai and Vu Minh Tuan, it can be affirmed that Viettel FC are quite qualified to compete for a top-three spot this season.

In other fixtures, former champions Becamex Binh Duong and SHB Da Nang will clash each other at Go Dau Stadium, while Saigon FC will host Song Lam Nghe An with their confidence boosted by a four-game unbeaten home run against the visitors.

The Sunday clash between Thanh Hoa FC and Hai Phong FC is also worth watching following their strong transformations over recent times, with the hosts signing quality forward duo Hoang Vu Samson and Grace Tanda and the visitors having the service of 2017 top scorer Claudecir.

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