City opened their 2020 V-League 1 campaign with a fantastic 3-1 away victory at the SVĐ Tam Kỳ against Quảng Nam FC and in the process broke another record in securing their first ever victory over their northern opponents. Goals from Viết Phú and a brace from Xuân Nam securing the points for City.
Coach Chung Hae-seong made four changes to the XI who started the Super Cup match against Hà Nội FC. Returning between the sticks came Thanh Thắng who takes over from Tiến Dũng. There were City debuts for Korean Seo Yong-duk (6) and Viết Phú (5). Whilst Huy Toàn (16) made his full debut after coming on as a sub against Hà Nội FC.
Starting XI Pose Before Game
Both teams started the game brightly. However, it was City who were to fashion the game's first opportunity in the 3rd minute. New signing Jong-duk (6) collecting the ball in the centre of the Quảng Nam half before trying his luck from distance. His effort flying high and wide of the intended target. However, the effort signalled the intentions of a City side determined to start the season on the front foot.
City were enjoying the early stages of the game and on seven minutes Huy Toàn (16) shot from 25 yards. His effort being deflected away from the Quảng Nam goal. A minute later and Phi Sơn (10) sent a dangerous cross into the host's area. Unfortunately, the waiting Baldé (99) was unable to direct the header goalwards.
Ten minutes in and it was Công Phượng's turn to threaten the hosts goal. Beating the offside trap, City's superstar tried to round Phạm Văn Cường (25) in the Quảng Nam goal but the keeper was able to intervene and the danger passed.
Công Phượng tries to round Văn Cường in the Quảng Nam goal
City were continuing to enjoy the lion share of chances and three minutes after Công Phượng's attempt City were to come within inches of taking the lead. A corner taken by Phi Sơn missed the head of Baldé under pressure from two Quảng Nam defenders. The ball eventually finding its way to Huy Toàn (16) whose strike was tipped onto the bar by the keeper's finger tips. So nearly the perfect full debut for the former SHB. Đà Nẵng man.
Although clearly the better side, City were almost undone on 18 minutes. Thanh Trung (7) found teammate Đình Thắng (10) in a dangerous position. However, Diakité (44) was able to clear the danger.
With twenty minutes on the clock, the hosts were lucky to still have their full complement of players on the pitch. Twice in the same minute City's Captain Phi Sơn was subjected to horrible challenges by the same Quảng Nam player - Viết Tú (2). Both instances being ignored by referee Nguyễn Ngọc Châu.
Both teams were clearly now determined to get control of the game and on 24 minutes the host's No.18 Nguyễn Văn Trạng was almost in. However, his effort blocked by a City defence showing more cohesion than was displayed against Hà Nội FC the previous weekend.
City's Amido Baldé battles with Quảng Nam's Viết Tú
City's No 1 Thanh Thắng had to be alert on 35 minutes collecting a dinked free kick from Pinto (8) that was intended for partner Rodrigo (11).
Ngô Hoàng Thịnh (9) was the next City player to attempt a shot from distance. However, as those who had tried before him, his shooting boots seemed to have been left in the player's changing room with his effort flying high and .... very wide.
With five minutes left of the first half, City were to fashion another half chance. A corner taken by Công Phượng finally ended with Seo Yong-duk firing wide.
There was still time in the half for Pinto to try his luck from distance but Thanh Thắng was alert to any danger and collected the shot easily.
Half Time : Quảng Nam FC 0-0 Ho Chi Minh City FC
A lively start to the second half saw City create the first half chance falling to the feet of Baldé. Unfortunately, his effort was to fly over the bar.
Five minutes in and it was the turn of the hosts to threaten. Văn Trạng (18) who was to grow in stature throughout the second period shrugged off the challenge of Tùng Quốc (2) before firing in a low sharp shot which Thành Thắng was able to gather in the City goal.
Both teams were trying to inject some urgency into the game with the hosts in particular trying to play more on the foot foot. And it was that man Văn Trạng who was in particular trying to make things happen. as the clock neared the hour mark, he was able to twist and turn within the City box before firing a low shot narrowly wide of the City goal. City responded almost immediately. A free kick floated in by Phi Sơn was looking dangerous until plucked out of the air by Quảng Nam's keeper Văn Cường. For his troubles, the keeper was clattered by City's Diakité (44) who received a yellow card for the challenge.
Just after the hour mark and the game had it's first goal. A it came for the hosts. Viết Tú's (2) cross was deflected by City's Viết Phú (5) with the subsequent retrieval and cross being headed past Thành Thắng by Quảng Nam's Center-back Lucas (22). Quảng Nam 1-0 HCMC FC
City were not to be behind for long. 180 seconds to be exact. A Công Phượng free kick found its way to the head of Viết Phú who managed to head the ball backwards and into the Quảng Nam goal for his first goal for City. Quảng Nam 1-1 HCMC FC
City's Viết Phú Celebrates His Goal
Coach Chung Hae-seong made his first change of the night on 7 minutes bringing on Xuân Nam (11) for Công Phượng who once again had shown glimpses of what is to come with more game time.
Huy Toàn was the next City player to feel the full force of a reckless Quảng Nam challenge. This time it was Văn Toàn (34) who was the guilty party. Once again the referee chose to ignore the challenge. A challenge which caused the City player to leave the pitch being replaced by Văn Thành (39).
With barely two minutes on the clock, City were to strike. A corner from City's left was flighted in by Phi Sơn. Recently introduced Xuân Nam managed to get his head to the ball and glanced in into the back of the Quảng Nam goal via Jose Pinto. Quảng Nam 1-2 HCMC FC
Xuân Nam Celebrates Scoring City's Second Goal
The hosts had no option but to throw everything into attack. As the game entered the sixth minute of an allotted five minutes of additional time, Xuân Nam was able to collect his own clearance and with an empty pitch ahead of him was able to run fully 45 yards before rounding the Quảng Nam keeper before placing the ball past a sliding Đình Thắng (10) to score City's third and ensure all three points were heading south. Quảng Nam 1-3 HCMC FC
Xuân Nam Rounds Phạm Văn Cường To Score City's Third
There was no time for Quảng Nam to respond and with the blowing of the referee's whistle City had secured their first ever victory over Quảng Nam. The victory was much more than just the three points as it signalled to the watching public that City had lost nothing of their spirit that had served them so well the previous season.
Quảng Nam FC : 25. Văn Cường, 2. Viết Tú, 7. Thanh Trung, 8. Jose Pinto, 10. Đình Thắng, 11. Rodrigo Da Silva Dias, 18. Văn Trạng, 24. Lucas Dos Santos Rocha, 38. Đức Lộc, 73. Hồng Sơn, 92. Anh Hùng
HCMC FC : 1. Thanh Thắng, 2. Tùng Quốc, 5. Viết Phú, 6. Seo Yong Duk (81. Anh Tuấn 89mins), 9. Hoàng Thịnh, 16. Huy Toàn (39. Văn Thành 80mins), 21. Công Phượng (11. Xuân Nam 70mins), 44. Pape Diakité, 10. Phi Sơn, 71. Công Thành, 99. Amido Baldé
Full Time : Quảng Nam FC 1-3 Ho Chi Minh City FC
Official Match Highlights
Next up for Quảng Nam FC is a trip to Hải Phòng FC on Friday 13th March in Week 2 of the 2020 LS V-League 1. City meanwhile travel to Laos to take on Lao Toyota in the AFC Cup on Tuesday 10th before returning to domestic action on Sunday 15th March at home to Thanh Hóa FC.