Hanoi T&T remained top of the V-League after holding Song Lam Nghe An to a 0-0 draw away in the 19th round on Sunday.
Lacking some key players, the visitors played defensively in a match between the two title contenders that had been expected to be exciting, hoping to come away with a tie to remain on top and succeeding.
At Vinh Stadium, Nghe An put in a lot of effort in an attempt to win and wrest back top spot, creating several clear scoring chances. But forwards Trong Hoang, Phi Son, Kavin Bryan, and Hughton Hector frittered away all of them.
To their credit, Hanoi did not sit back and allow Nghe An to do all the running, instead launching some rapid counterattacks, to keep the hosts honest.
Hanoi, the 2010 champs, are on 35 points while the 2011 champs SLNA are in second place two points behind.
The tie at the top enabled Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) to move closer to the two with a hard-fought 1-0 win over hosts Dong Nai.
The 2003-04 champs are now in fourth place with 31 points, the same as reigning champs Da Nang, who are stuck in third place after a 3-2 away defeat to Dong Tam Long An.
With only three more rounds to go, the loss has dented Da Nang's chances of successfully defending their title.
In earlier matches played on Saturday bottom side Kien Giang scored a 3-1 home win over Xuan Thanh Saigon to cling to hopes of avoiding relegation to the First Division.
Binh Duong scored a 2-1 away win over Hai Phong at Lach Tray Stadium to move further away from the relegation zone.