The doors are still wide open to both Groups A and B as both the title race and the fight to escape relegation are heating up after matchday 3 of V.League’s second phase.
|Viettel (in red) are temporal league leaders after matchday 3 of V.League’s second phase. (Photo: NDO/Tran Hai)|
Group A: Four-horse race to the title
Taking advantage of playing at home on matchday 3, Viettel FC and reigning champions Hanoi FC both earned 1-0 wins to claim the two highest positions in the rankings.
For Viettel, coach Truong Viet Hoang’s side continue to hold first place they claimed in the second round of phase 2, while second-placed Hanoi FC are now very close to the No. 1 spot on the chart for the first time in the 2020 season.
The difference between the two teams stationed in the capital city of Hanoi is only 2 points and they must still have a direct battle with each other on matchday 5 to determine who are truly the No. 1 representatives of Hanoi football.
However, the race to the championship title in Vietnam’s top-flight football league this season is not just a derby between Viettel and Hanoi FC, because both the third and fourth ranked teams, Saigon FC and Quang Ninh Coal FC (both with 28 points), are standing right behind the leaders, with just 1 point behind Hanoi FC and 2 points behind Viettel.
This means that the score gap between the second, third and fourth-place teams is limited to a single win and any scenario can happen from now on to the end of the season.
Even Becamex Binh Duong, currently ranked 5th with 23 points, still have the right to hope for a spectacular subversion to enter the top 3 if they achieve positive results in the remaining matches of the season.
Unlike the leading teams, the following teams such as Quang Ninh Coal or Becamex Binh Duong do not have to suffer any achievement pressure, so they can play in a comfortable spirit, and thus can make surprise in the championship race.
Binh Duong in the second matchday forced Saigon FC to drop their first place in a 3-1 defeat. In matchday 3, despite a 0-1 defeat to hosts Viettel, Becamex Binh Duong had caused many difficulties for coach Truong Viet Hoang’s side.
Likewise, Hong Linh Ha Tinh do not have clear opportunities to compete for the championship, but they were capable of forcing defending champions Hanoi FC to sweat to get full 3 points from their 1-0 win on Tuesday (Oct 20).
In the remaining matches of Group A, the role of "judges" like Quang Ninh, Becamex Binh Duong or Hong Linh Ha Tinh will still be extremely important for the final rankings.
Group B: Three “dark horses" in the relegation race
Similar to Group A, Group B also witnessed tense and drastic changes as except for SHB Da Nang, Song Lam Nghe An and Thanh Hoa who have already ensured their tickets to stay in the next season, Nam Ha Pharma Nam Dinh, Hai Phong and Quang Nam are still competing with each other in the attempt to escape relegation.
In this round, Quang Nam had their first victory under new coach Nguyen Thanh Cong after beating Nam Dinh 2-0, but because Hai Phong, the team ranked right above them, also won their match, Quang Nam have yet to change their position in the rankings.
Group B still has two more matches, so the chance is still open for Nam Dinh, Hai Phong and Quang Nam, but among them, the advantage belongs to Nam Dinh and Hai Phong because they are given the right to decide their own fates.
Not only the intense race at the two tops of the rankings, matchday 3 also witnessed a strong response from the organisers as well as clubs and players in joining hands with the community to support flood victims in the central region.
All the money raised at stadiums during the matches will be transferred by clubs to the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee to support those in need in the flood-hit central localities. NDO
Both defending champions Hanoi FC and Quang Ninh Coal FC earned important wins during the third matchday matches of the V.League 2020’s second phase, thus lifting themselves up in the table for a title race with other heavyweights.