Hai Phong coach Truong Viet Hoang no longer tries to hide his ambition of winning this year's V.League title after his team defeated Hoang Anh Gia Lai 4-2 on Sunday to secure all wins in the past five rounds.
“After winning all five rounds, we have a good chance to win the championship. We will take that chance,” he said at the press briefing after Hai Phong hosted the Central Highlands team.
Earlier this season, Hoang had repeatedly told the media that he did not set a high goal for his players at the national top flight football league.
The team's recent winning streak may have changed his mind.
However, he was not very satisfied with his players in the Sunday match.
“They did not play very well. The team’s defense needs to be reviewed because we lost two goals,” he said.
Xuan Hung scored the first goal for Hai Phong before Jamaican striker Anthony Stevens had a hat-trick, including a goal in the 30th minute and two penalties in the 58th and 72nd minute.
Brazilian striker Osmar Moreira scored two goals for Hoang Anh Gia Lai, including a penalty in the 45th minute and another goal in the 70th minute.
Hoang Anh Gia Lai coach Nguyen Quoc Tuan said Hai Phong deserved the victory.
“They won thanks to their two foreign strikers, Stevens and [Diego] Fagan. They were too fast and strong.”
“Meanwhile, for Hoang Anh Gia Lai, Van Toan did not play well due to his back pain and did not coordinate well with Moreira,” he said.
After the round, Hai Phong now leads with 15 points, followed by SHB Da Nang with 12 points and Thanh Hoa with nine.
The 2013 champion Hanoi T&T remains at the bottom among 14 teams, with only 1 point.
In an unexpected move, another team from the capital, Hanoi, has been renamed Saigon after the club settled in its new home in Ho Chi Minh City after the fourth round.