Dong Thap lead V-League pack after round seven

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Dong Thap took the top V-League spot after a 3-1 home win at the Cao Lanh Stadium over Hoa Phat Hanoi in the seventh round on Sunday.

The Mekong Delta hosts put on their best performances against the rivals from the capital city in the presence of around 17,000 home spectators.

The hosts were excited because it was the first time this season they were playing on home turf after a lighting system had been installed at the stadium and received permission from the Vietnam Football Federation to play there.

In the first six rounds, Dong Thap played their home matches at An Giang Stadium in the eponymous neighboring province because the Cao Lanh Stadium didn't have the required lighting system.

In their Sunday victory over Hoa Phat Hanoi, Dong Thap's number one striker, Nigerian Samson Kayode, scored the opener midway through the first half but his compatriot and former teammate, 24-year-old Timothy Anjembe, equalized before halftime.

After the break, 29-year-old Kayode and his 23-year-old compatriot Chibuike Ibeji struck again to earn Dong Thap a great home win, taking the Mekong Delta representatives from the third place to the top of the league with 14 points.

However, Dong Thap's jump to the top was also made possible by 2009 champs Da Nang being held to a 1-1 home draw at Chi Lang Stadium by Khanh Hoa.

The hosts won three penalty kicks but 26-year-old Argentine striker Sebastian Gaston Merlo could find the back of Khanh Hoa's just once. One of his shots was saved by Khanh Hoa custodian Hoang Tuan and the other went wide. Khanh Hoa was thus able to earn a point thanks to a goal by midfielder Le Tan Tai.

Da Nang slid two places to third with 13 points while Khanh Hoa with 10 points fell three spots to 10th out of 14 teams in the league.

In other action, National Cup holders Nghe An beat visitors Thanh Hoa three-nil at Vinh Stadium with goals by Brazilian Vietnamese Nguyen Hoang Helio, Ghanaian Edmund Owusu-Ansah and Hong Viet while a brace by teenager Van Quyet earned V-League reigning champs Hanoi T&T a 2-1 home win over Ninh Binh at Hanoi's Hang Day Stadium.

Nghe An are in second place with 13 points while Hanoi T&T are in fourth a point adrift of Nghe An and third-placed Da Nang. Thanh Hoa and Ninh Binh are in 11th and 12th positions with seven and six points respectively.

Ho Chi Minh City representatives Navibank Saigon played a disappointing away match at Lach Tray Stadium against hosts Hai Phong, failing to convert clear chances and sliding to a 0-2 defeat.

Hai Phong climbed one spot to ninth with 10 points while Navibank Saigon with 11 points fell three spots to fifth after the loss.

At Pleiku Stadium in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai, hosts Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) hammered Dong Tam Long An (DTLA) 3-0 thanks to a hat trick by Brazilian striker Evaldo Rodrigues Gonzalves.

V-League champions in 2003-04, HAGL jumped two places to seventh with 10 points while 2005-06 champs DTLA remained in 13th spot with five points.

Hanoi ACB fought to a 3-3 home draw with the 2007-08 champs Binh Duong at Hang Day Stadium on Saturday. The draw couldn't lift the capital side with four points off the bottom while Binh Duong remained in the sixth place.

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