Held by Hanoi FC, Thanh Hoa lose top spot

NDO – FLC Thanh Hoa failed to defend their position atop the V-League 2017 standings after being held to an unexpected 3-3 draw by reigning champions Hanoi FC, in the most anticipated match of the 21st round, on their home field, on October 15.

Despite playing away, Hanoi put the home side under pressure right from the off, by finding the net immediately after the first whistle. Taking a long pass from a teammate, striker Hoang Vu Samson produced a decisive and accurate finish to open the scoring for the capital team.

However, their joy was short-lived, as defender Mai Tien Thanh equalised for FLC Thanh Hoa just three minutes later.

With the pressure removed, Thanh Hoa regained their confidence as a frontrunner in the title hunt and reversed the situation in the 24th minute thanks to an accurate curler by captain Omar, from a distance of 18 metres.

Following the break, Hanoi FC put veteran Thanh Luong on to the field, seeking to strengthen their power in the attack line. The adjustment proved effective as the guests tied up the score four minutes after the hour mark, following a skillful ball control and finish by forward Oseni.

With time running out, Hanoi FC continued to attack the home side, forcing goalkeeper Thanh Thang to work hard in goal.

Van Thang managed to make it 3-2 for FLC Thanh Hoa with an 82nd-minute header, only to see his effort cancelled out by Van Quyet, who sealed an aggregate 3-3 score with a successful penalty conversion a few minutes later.

Sharing the points with Hanoi FC, FLC Thanh Hoa missed out on the opportunity to consolidate their top position, being beaten to second place by Quang Nam, who finished off hosts XSKT Can Tho with a score of 3-2 on the same day.

In the other matches, SHB Da Nang and Song Lam Nghe An easily trounced bottom-placed Long An and Hoang Anh Gia Lai by two straight goals, while Hai Phong thrashed Ho Chi Minh City 4-1.

Former champions Becamex Binh Duong suffered a narrow 0-1 defeat to Quang Ninh Coal. Meanwhile, Saigon and Sanna Khanh Hoa BVN played out the only goalless match of the 21st round.

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