V-League's first-place Binh Duong and second-place Hanoi T&T both lost on Sunday as gaps between the front runners and other leading teams narrowed.
At Pleiku Stadium in the Central Highland province of Gia Lai, hosts Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) downed the tired visitors Binh Duong, who have been on the road playing V-League, National Cup and the Asian Football Confederation Cup games all at once.
The 2003-04 V-League champs HAGL took control of the match early to shut out their opponents, launching dangerous attacks throughout.
The 2007-08 champions Binh Duong were slow and heavy and didn't communicate, leaving easy openings for the home team's two goals by Minh Thien and Evaldo.
Like Binh Duong, Hanoi T&T also suffered a 0-2 away defeat to Dong Tam Long An (DTLA) at Long An Stadium in the Mekong Delta.
The Mekong Delta side had more clear chances than the visitors from the capital and took a win with two goals by Antonio Carlos and Danny David after wasting several other chances.
Binh Duong and Hanoi T&T were still in first and second place but defending champs Da Nang and Hoa Phat Hanoi took home wins over Thanh Hoa and Khanh Hoa to tie both Binh Duong and Hanoi T&T with 5 total points each.
The 2005-06 V-League champs DTLA are now in fifth place with five points, followed by Mekong Delta squad Dong Thap in the sixth spot with four points after beating Ninh Binh 5-2 at Cao Lanh Stadium following a hat-trick by winger Duoc Em.
Other teams with four points are Hai Phong Cement, Navibank Saigon and Ninh Binh, ranging from seventh to ninth places. Hai Phong Cement and Navibank Saigon both took away wins over Nghe An and Nam Dinh.
The 10th and 11th spots belonged to HAGL and Khanh Hoa with three points each, followed by 12th-placed Nghe An with two points. Nam Dinh and Thanh Hoa are at the bottom with one point each.
After the third round of the second-tier First Division on Saturday, Tay Ninh slid into first place with five points despite a 1-1 away draw with Can Tho.
Also with five points, Quang Nam is now right behind Tay Ninh after a 1-0 home victory over Binh Dinh.
The top two teams of First Division will be promoted to the top-tier V-League next season while the two teams at the bottom of V-League will be relegated to
First Division's third best and V-League's third from bottom will play a play-off match for a spot in the V-League.