V.League preview: SLNA eye home win to solidify reign at top

by NDO22 June 2020 Last updated at 20:00 PM

Song Lam Nghe An are now one point clear at the top of the V.League table following their three wins and two draws.
Song Lam Nghe An are now one point clear at the top of the V.League table following their three wins and two draws.

VTV.vn - After a successful conquest at title holders Hanoi FC on the last matchday, Song Lam Nghe An (SLNA) are now feeling confident about another triumph, hosting defending runners-up Ho Chi Minh (HCM) City in the first Matchday 6 clash of June 23

Crunch encounter at Vinh Stadium

The encounter between the title race leaders and the third-placed team is undoubtedly the most anticipated match in the upcoming V.League action.

In-form SLNA are drawing special attention from fans following their impressive 1-0 win over reigning champions Hanoi FC. With a solid playing style without an overt dependence on star players, Ngo Quang Truong’s side currently seem to be flawless. They have now gone five consecutive games without a defeat (three wins and two draws), which puts them a point clear at the top of the table. Notably, SLNA have been known for a strongest defensive lineup this season, as they remain the only team to keep a clean sheet following the first five matchdays. The biggest limitation of the central team at present may be their ability to score, with their attacking players failing to optimally capitalise on their opportunities and having only managed to hit the net three times since the beginning of V.League 2020.

Meanwhile, HCM City have bounced back strongly with a “three-star” victory against title contenders Viettel FC, lifting them to third place only a single point adrift of the title frontrunners. This is expected to give a boost to the southern team’s confidence ahead of their trip to Vinh Stadium on Tuesday.

Forward Nguyen Cong Phuong (C) remains the biggest hope in HCM City's attacking lineup.

Regarding the head-to-head record, SLNA and HCM City are now level, with each winning twice, drawing twice and losing twice across their last six V.League meetings. However, last season, HCM City were the much better side, beating SLNA 2-1 in both meetings (home and away).

With both teams currently in confident mood, the Tuesday clash at Vinh Stadium promises to be a dramatic crunch encounter.

Can HAGL end poor away record against SHB Da Nang?

Matchday 6 will also see Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) play away to former champions SHB Da Nang. This will be a significant challenge to Lee Tae-hoon’s side, especially as they have just “recovered” from consecutive defeats in recent times.

HAGL have a poor record there, as they haven’t won a single point at Da Nang’s stadium since 2015. In their first year promoted to V.League, HAGL suffered a humiliating 0-2 loss. In the seasons that followed, they couldn’t reverse this losing pattern.

Nonetheless, this season, the opportunity to return home with some or all points is brighter for HAGL as SHB Da Nang are also in state of crisis at present ranking only fourth from bottom. If they play solidly and make good use of their opportunities, Lee Tae-hoon’s troops can possibly pocket at least one point.

Will Hanoi FC come round or continue to fall?

Reigning champions Hanoi FC (in purple) are now in crisis sitting seventh in the table four points adrift of title frontrunners Song Lam Nghe An.

After suffering a bitter 0-1 loss to SLNA, Hanoi FC will continue with another difficult opponent, Becamex Binh Duong, currently second in the table. Their difficulties are complicated as Chu Dinh Nghiem’s side are the visiting side.

In the last three seasons, Hanoi FC have never bagged a win at Go Dau Stadium. In V.League 2018 and 2019, the capital’s team had to share the points with Binh Duong after respective 1-1 and 2-2 draws. Earlier in V.League 2017, Hanoi FC were forced to concede two unanswered goals by Becamex Binh Duong.

With the absence of many key players due to injury, it is clear that many difficulties are besieging Hanoi FC. Whether Chu Dinh Nghiem’s troops can deliver a good display against in-form Becamex Binh Duong or not still remains a big question.

Remaining matches

The four remaining Matchday 6 clashes include Nam Dinh FC vs Hai Phong FC, Viettel vs Thanh Hoa FC, Quang Ninh Coal vs Quang Nam FC, and Saigon FC vs Hong Linh Ha Tinh, with the respective host teams considered to have the upper hand in the hunt for the full three points.


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