Hoàng Anh Gia Lai earn seasonal second win under new coach

Hoàng Anh Gia Lai win second match, Thể Công Viettel still in trouble after a draw at the V.League 1 matches on March 2.


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Midfielder Châu Ngọc Quang of Hoàng Anh Gia Lai (right) vies for the ball against Thanh Hóa’s midfielder A Mit during their V.League 1 match on March 2. Photos of VPF

HÀ NỘI — After Hoàng Anh Gia Lai’s second win of the season beating Thanh Hóa 2-1, coach Vũ Tiến Thành said it was the best club he has coached and that the players had strong potential.

Captain Trần Minh Vương and Luiz Antonio De Souza Soares scored for the visiting side one in each half, while Joao Henrique Oliveira Veras netted for the hosts in the last seconds of the first half on March 2.

“Hoàng Anh Gia Lai are the best team that I have coached so far,” said Thành who was in charge of the former champions for several weeks.

“I am interested in players’ good technique. People criticise them but I think differently. This is the best generation trained by Hoàng Anh Gia Lai. It’s just that they are playing without principles and getting lost.”

This was the first win since Thành’s arrival. He suffered a loss in the first match in mid-February and then pocketed two draws last week.

“Previously, Hoàng Anh Gia Lai won easily but lost easily too because of their poor defence. I come here not to train them how to attack, it is what they do well, but I have to improve their defence which is my strong point,” Thành said.

The win lifted Hoàng Anh Gia Lai to No 12 in the ranking and they will return home, hosting HCM City in the next match.

On the other side, Thanh Hóa’s Velizar Popov denied gossip about him stepping down after his second loss in a row.

“This may be mistranslated information. When the translation is wrong, you will think in a different direction,” the Bulgarian said.

“Before my contract ending in May, I will have my official statement and decision. I prioritise staying.”

For the defeat, Popov attributed players mismanagement of scoring opportunities, although their performance was good.

“My players all did their best in the whole match, but could not manage their opportunities. I am not sad. We faced a shortage of personnel, playing without key players.

“We still target top six this season. It is not a big deal at the present. I will head up and look towards a better future.”

Thanh Hóa dropped to No 4 and will play leader Nam Định next week.

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Midfielder Khuất Văn Khang of Thể Công Viettel (centre) tries to run away from Hải Phòng’s players during their match which ended 1-1 on March 3. 

In the other match, Thể Công-Viettel maintained position at second from bottom after an unexpected 1-1 draw with Hải Phòng at the Lạch Tray Stadium.

Thể Công went ahead in the 44th minute with a Trần Mạnh Cường’s easy tap-in, but only two minutes later defender Bùi Tiến Dũng made an own goal to make it 1-1.

Coach Nguyễn Đức Thắng knew he was under duty but said: “When I decided to lead Thể Công Viettel, I knew I would be under great pressure. Therefore, playing three matches without a win does not make more pressure on me.

“My job is to live with pressure. I think the situation of the team right now is not enough to worry much. The problem is players’ low performance leading to unsatisfactory matches. We created many opportunities, no less than three opportunities each match, but we missed,” Thắng said.

The former national defender said his team always aimed for a high place finish each season. They would not lower the goal but step by step overcome difficulties.

“Each match in the rest of the season would be a final. It is challenging but who knows, maybe in difficulty we would win again,” he said.

Thể Công will play defending champion Hà Nội Police in the city derby next match.

On his side, coach Chu Đình Nghiêm felt pleased with one point when Hải Phòng were in trouble with the lack of quality players.

“The personnel shortage pushes us to big problem. Team lines, especially the defence, have been mixed up. We scored 19 goals but still suffered draws and defeats. We are trying to find good defenders for the rest of the season,” Nghiêm said.

Hải Phòng, at No 8 in the table, will travel to play Hồng Lĩnh Hà Tĩnh on March 8.

Theo Vietnamnews