Song Lam Nghe An (SLNA) has moved closer to the championship of Vietnam's top-tier V-League after a 3-1 home win over Navibank Saigon at Vinh Stadium on Tuesday.
The league leaders with 45 points are now six points clear of defending champs Hanoi T&T and the 2009 champs Da Nang while the 2011 season has only three more rounds to go.
Taking on the visitors from Ho Chi Minh City on Tuesday, the host SLNA players were in high spirits and launched relentless attacks, maintaining constant pressure on the visitors.
Their efforts were rewarded with three goals by Brazilian Vietnamese Nguyen Hoang Helio, Trong Hoang and Jamaican striker Andre Diego Fagan.
The visitors had a consolation goal in the stoppage time of the second half but it was an own goal by SLNA's Nguyen Huy Hoang.
SLNA's win made Da Nang's 3-1 home victory at Chi Lang Stadium over the 2005-06 champs Dong Tam Long An less meaningful because the three remaining rounds can hardly be enough time for Da Nang to close in on SLNA. Dong Tam Long An with 24 points fell one position to 13th out of 14 teams in the league.
Before the 23rd round, the reigning champs Hanoi T&T with 38 points were just four points adrift of the leaders SLNA but their home tie with the 2007-08 champs Binh Duong at Hang Day Stadium on Monday and SLNA's Tuesday win extended the difference to six points.
Binh Duong are now in fourth spot while a 2-0 home win at Cao Lanh Stadium over Thanh Hoa lifted Dong Thap one place to fifth, pushing Thanh Hoa one place to sixth.
In the lower part of the table, the 2003-04 champs Hoang Anh Gia Lai climbed one place up to seventh after a 1-0 home win at Pleiku Stadium over bottom side Khanh Hoa, who now have 23 points.
Hai Phong with 26 points jumped three positions to 10th after a 2-1 home win at Lach Tray Stadium over Hoa Phat Hanoi, who slid one place to 11th with the same 26 points as Hai Phong.
Ninh Binh with 30 points remained in 9th position after a 3-2 away win at Hang Day Stadium over Hanoi ACB, who slid one spot to 12th with 25 points.
The five teams from the bottom are very close together, so the remaining three rounds are their real fights to avoid being relegated to the second-tier First Division.