Arsenal-backed academy students fail to light up Vietnam football league

Thanh Nien News

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Hoang Anh Gia Lai fans at the Lach Tray Stadium in Hai Phong Wednesday. Photo: Ngo Nguyen Hoang Anh Gia Lai fans at the Lach Tray Stadium in Hai Phong Wednesday. Photo: Ngo Nguyen

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Hoang Anh Gia Lai’s losing streak continued Wednesday with their third straight loss, this time 1-0 away to Hai Phong.
The experienced home team was solid in defense and sharp in attack and was cheered raucously by fans whose struggle to buy tickets at the Lach Tray Stadium had led to a fracas earlier.
Hai Phong’s captain Minh Chau co-ordinated well with the two Jamaican strikers Diego Fagan and Anthony Stevens to put pressure on Hoang Anh Gia Lai goalkeeper Minh Nhut.
The rough pitch due to poor maintenance caused difficulties for the visiting players, who are renowned for their technique and skills.
The only goal of the match was scored by Stevens with a header in the 57th minuteafter receiving a pinpoint cross from Chau.
Hoang Anh Gia Lai sent in its vaunted striker Cong Phuong right after the goal, but he had a birthday to forget and could no reproduce the heroics of the first round when he scored twice to help his team trounce Sanna KhanhHoa 4-2.
After taking the lead, Hai Phong were content to play a holding game with counterattacks and long passes to the two Jamaicans.
Hoang Anh Gia Lai’s attacks were all blocked though Hai Phong played with 10 men from the 84th minute onwards after Khanh Lam collected a second yellow for bringing down Ut Cuong.
The loss has raised questions about a club whoseyoung players from their Arsenal-supported academy had been expected to infuse new excitement into the V-League, which the Vietnamese national coach Toshiya Miura has called “terrible” for failing to attract fans.
Hoang Anh Gia Lai fans have, however,been scrambling for for tickets this season to see the young players from Hoang Anh Gia Lai Arsenal JMG.
Their matches have been considered the highlight of every round and shown live on TV.
“Without the ‘Hoang Anh Gia Lai stimulus package’, most stadiums will remain empty this season,” football analyst Phan Dang said.
Meanwhile, reigning champions Becamex Binh Duong scored their fourth straight win bybeating host Song Lam Nghe An 1-0 Wednesday with a goal by Senegalese attacking midfielder Abass Cheikh Dieng.
Binh Duong had paid VND6 billion (US$281,000) to buy national striker Le Cong Vinh before the start of the season.
Coach Le Thuy Hai has such a strong team that he could affordto leave national team stars like Anh Duc, Tan Tai and Dang Van Thanh on the bench in recent matches.
 OTHER MATCHES IN THE FOURTH ROUND
Quang Ninh 3-1 Dong Thap
Thanh Hoa 1-1 Sanna Khanh Hoa
Quang Nam 2-2 Dong Tam Long An
Song Lam Nghe An 0-1 Becamex Binh Duong
SHB Da Nang 1-1 Hanoi T&T
Dong Nai 1-0 Can Tho
Hai Phong 1-0 Hoang Anh Gia Lai

Ranking

Team

Round

W

D

L

Pts

1

Becamex Binh Duong

4

4

0

0

12

2

Hai Phong

4

3

1

0

10

3

Quang Ninh

4

3

0

1

9

4

Thanh Hoa

4

2

1

1

7

5

Hanoi T&T

4

1

3

0

6

6

Dong Tam Long An

4

1

3

0

6

7

Sanna Khanh Hoa

4

1

2

1

5

8

Song Lam Nghe An

4

1

1

2

4

9

Dong Thap

4

1

1

2

4

10

Hoang Anh Gia Lai

4

1

0

3

3

11

Quang Nam

4

0

3

1

3

12

Dong Nai

4

1

0

3

3

13

Can Thơ

4

0

2

2

2

14

SHB Da Nang

4

0

1

3

1

 

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