Dong Thap defeated Hoang Anh Gia Lai 2-1 in a V.League fourth round match that has been described as an easy victory.
“Hoang Anh Gia Lai lost because their strategy was predictable,” Dong Thap coach Pham Cong Loc said at a press briefing following the Sunday match at home.
“We could have won with even more goals if we had taken our chances better,” Loc said.
Croatian striker Marko Simic scored a goal for Dong Thap in the 14th minute from outside the box.
Two minutes later, the score was leveled after Dong Thap’s defender Truong Khang scored an own goal.
Simic almost had a double in the 34th minute when he shot from an offside position.
In the last minute of the first half, Nigerian striker Samson Kpenosen scored the winning goal for Dong Thap, following poor coordination of three Hoang Anh Gia Lai defenders.
Loc said Hoang Anh Gia Lai was predictable because the ball was mostly passed to Van Thanh, Van Toan and Minh Vuong: “We blocked these players pretty well today.”
Meanwhile, the other team's coach Nguyen Quoc Tuan said he had expected a draw. He said his players from the usually chilly Central Highlands were affected by hot weather at Cao Lanh Stadium.
“Minh Vuong and Van Toan were not focused enough with their shots,” he said.
The fourth round was also marked by an incident at the August 19 Stadium in Nha Trang, after Hanoi T&T’s Van Quyet allegedly pushed referee Hoang Pham Cong Khanh. The act led to a red card and Quyet's dismissal from the national team.
Quyet and other Hanoi T&T players were opposing the referee for not calling a penalty after a Sanna Khanh Hoa player played the ball with his hand during the extra time.
Hanoi T&T lost 0-1 in the match and remained at the bottom with only one point after four rounds.
Hai Phong defeated Quang Nam 1-0 to take back its leading position, followed by Thanh Hoa and SHB Da Nang, both with nine points.
Thanh Hoa is one round behind due to a delayed match against Dong Thap last week amid security concerns.