An outstanding second half performance was not enough to prevent City slumping to their 2nd home defeat of the season as they eventually went down 1-2 to Becamex Bình Dương in week 8 of the LS 2020 V League 1 season.  Defeat sees City slip to 2nd in the table behind 'city' rivals Sài Gòn FC.

City made three changes to the starting XI that faced SHB Đà Nẵng the previous meeting for a game that they needed to win if they were to regain top spot from 'city' rivals Sài Gòn FC who 24 hours earlier had defeated Hải Phòng 2-0.

Into the Starting XI came defender Sầm Ngọc Đức (7) and midfielders Trần Thanh Bình (8) and Phạm Công Hiển (28).  All three were on the bench last time out.  Two from the previous game dropped to the bench - Seo Yong-duk (6) and Nguyễn Công Thành (71).  Võ Huy Toàn (16) was missing from the squad all together with the returning Trần Phi Sơn (10) having to make do with a place on the bench.

Seo Yong-duk's non-inclusion in the Starting XI came as a surprise given his previous appearances where the South Korean midfielder showed plenty of class in the centre of City's midfield.

Starting XI Prior To Becamex Bình Dương

A healthy crowd (estimated at 8,000 by the VFF) greeted the two teams as they entered the pitch.  Both teams were in good shape in the league and pushing for a top eight spot prior to the mid-season cut.

City were hoping for a fast start and looking to reclaim top spot which had been lost the previous evening.  Both wishes were however in danger of becoming fantasy as early as the 4th minute.  City lost possession in the middle of the park allowing Bình Dương's Toure to break free.  Although tracked back by Hữu Tuấn, the defender's challange clearly took away the legs of the forward and the referee made no hesitation in correctly pointing to the penalty spot.

Hữu Tuấn Takes Toure's Legs Away

The referee points to the spot

The early goal settled the visitors were to enjoy their best spell of the game.  City in recent times have become used to coming back from a goal down so although momentarily silenced.  The home crowd rallied to City's cause.

On 21 minutes the visitors almost fashioned another chance.  Midfielder and captain for the evening, Tiến Linh was able to find striker Gustavo in space.  However, the striker hesitated allowing City to clear.

City's cause was not helped in the 22nd minute with captain Văn Thuận (14) having to be replaced by Hoàng Thịnh (9).  The injury seemed to be a strain of some description, possible due to twisting on the slick surface.  There did not seem to be any contact prior to the City man going down in obvious pain.

Captain Văn Thuận Carried Off After 22 Minutes

It was the visitors who were continuing to pose the greater threat up front.  On 25 minutes Tiến Linh had an opportunity to increase the lead.  However his header was comfortably collected by City's stopper Thanh Thắng.

This is not to say that City were without opportunities.  All too often though, intented crosses to front man Baldé (99) were either too high or slightly behind the big man restricting his ability to direct headers on goal.  Công Phượng (21) continued to probe but was well marshalled.  City were missing Seo Yong-duk (6) who offers something slightly different from City's other midfielders. 

©2018 by Darren Smale