Công Phượng's 20th minute strike, his third goal in four games since joing the club, was not enough to prevent City going down 1-2 against Hà Nội FC in the 2019 Vietnamese Super Cup Final.  The game was played in front of a near deserted SVĐ Thống Nhất due to the on-going Covid-19 health issues.  Only 40 fans from both clubs allowed to enter the ground. 

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Fans has temperature check before entering stadium

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Coach Chung Hae-soung once again rang the changes prior to the game and once again there was no place in the starting XI for Đức Lương (12) in defence which caused a stir amongst supporters of City given his impressive performances so far.  Tiến Dũng remained in goal at the continued expense of last season's hero Thanh Thắng and again their was no place for Tăng Tiến (4).  Papé Diakité maintained his place in central defence alongside Hữu Tuấn (15).  Club Captain Văn Thuận was again missing due to his injury which meant that Phi Sơn (10) retained the Captain's armband.  City fans were hoping for more of the same from Công Phượng (21) and Baldé (99) whose goal scoring starts have been mighty impressive. 

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Starting XI Prior To Kick Off

The game had barely begun when Vietnamese International Duy Mạnh, challenging for the ball with City's Baldé (99) appeared to twist his knee resulting in the Hà Nội defender leaving the pitch via a stretcher.  Not a good sign for the watching Vietnamese National Coach who has already lost a number of key players to his squad.  

On the pitch and City were enjoying the better of the opening exchanges.  Phi Sơn and Công Phượng picking up from where they had left off in the previous game away to Hougang United in the AFC Cup.  City looked assured in their passing and movement.  

 

10 minutes in and City's skipper Phi Sơn (10), linking up with the aforementioned Công Phượng almost fashioned the games first real opening.  His shot being deflected over for the game's first corner.  The resultant corner, taken by Phi Sơn found the head of Diakité (44) whose powerful header hit the side netting rather than the back of the net. 

18 minutes in and the game burst into life and no surprises it was that man Công Phượng.  Collecting the ball midway in the Hà Nội half, the enigmatic striker struck an absolute beauty into the bottom right hand corner of the Hà Nội net giving keeper Văn Công no chance of stopping it.  HCMC FC 1-0 Hà Nội FC

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Công Phượng scores against Hà Nội FC

23 minutes in and the visitors almost had an equaliser.  A Văn Quyết (10) corner was only partially cleared to the oncoming Moses (8).  His shot, although beautifully struck, sailed over the bar for a City goal kick although the Hà Nội players claimed that Tiến Dũng (35) got fingertips to it.

27 minutes and it was City's turn to threaten.  Phi Sơn, using the space created by Tùng Quốc's (2) intelligent run, ghosted into a dangerous position.  Unfortunately, his shot was straight at the keeper who grabbed the loose ball just as Công Phượng was about to pounce to grab both his and City's second.

 

Moments later and it was all square.  Văn Quyết's low cross into the box went through the legs of Diakité (44) and although the intended recipient Hùng Dũng (88) missed the ball, City's Công Thành (71) who had tracked the run inadvertently turned the ball into his own goal passed. a stranded City Keeper Tiến Dũng who had anticipated the path of the ball and come to collect.  After similar circumstances leading to a goal in Singapore the previous Tuesday night, groans were audible.  However, neither Tiến Dũng nor Công Thành were really at fault for what was an unfortunate own goal which could have been dealt with long before reaching Văn Quyết to cross.  HCMC FC 1-1 Hà Nội FC

City were now going through a period of giving the ball away too easily.  However, Hà Nội's Văn Kiên (13) was lucky to escape a card on 32 minutes for a two footed challenge on Công Thành.  Referee Ngô Duy Lân, not for the first time, choosing to ignore a crude challenge by a Hà Nội player.  A trait (bias) he is well known for.   Hà Nội were now beginning to dominate the midfield area with City struggling to get back into the game.

With the clock ticking down to the break the away side struck what was to be the decisive blow.  Thành Chung (16) was allowed far too much time to play a long pass to Hùng Dũng (88) who was in turn not tracked and allowed to run toward the City area.  His shot was saved by Tiến Dũng.  However, as both Công Thành and Hữu Tuấn (15) stood and watched, Hà Nội's Omar (20) helped himself to a goal to put the visitors ahead.  HCMC FC 1-2 Hà Nội FC

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Half Time : Ho Chi Minh City FC 1-2 Hà Nội FC

Coach Chung Hae-soung made his first change of the afternoon at the start of the second half bringing on Huy Toàn (16) for his City debut replacing Công Hiển (28).

Five minutes into the second period and the game almost flickered into life.  A Phi Sơn corner was cleared only as far as Diakité who lofted the ball high back into the visitor's area resulting in a collision between City's tall striker Baldé and the Hà Nội keeper Văn CôngHandbags were drawn with both Diakité and Thành Chung receiving yellow cards.

Two minutes later and there were more handbags on show.  A quick City move saw Công Phượng feed Huy Toàn.  His attempted cross was deflected off Văn Kiên (13) for a City corner.  Phi Sơn, again on corner duty, swung a delightful in-swinging cross which almost caught out the Hà Nội keeper Văn Công, who was just able to claw the ball from under the crossbar before it crossed the line.  Baldé and Thành Chung went for the loose ball with the latter rolling around on the floor as if he had been shot.  Replays showed that Baldé had accidentally stood on the player as he attempted his tenth body roll.

Just after the hour mark, and probably in an attempt to inject some new life into City, Coach Chung Hae-soung made his second switch of the game bringing on Anh Tuấn (81) for Công Thành (71) who must be one of City's most under-rated players and had put in another tireless performance. 

The substitution almost had an immediate effect.  Anh Tuấn, taking over corner duties from Phi Sơn, curled a beautiful corner into the danger zone of Hà Nội's box which, unfortunately eluded everyone and the danger passed.

Not surprisingly, it was City who were trying to alter the course of the game with the visitors happy to contain.  Two thirds of the game in and Baldé collected a long ball, turned and shot from the edge of the box.  Unfortunately his shot lacked direction and went wide of the Hà Nội goal.

With twenty minutes of the game remaining, the visitors threw on one of their 'other' superstars Quang Hải (19) who replaced Văn Kiên (13).  City responded minutes later by making their final change of the game with the introduction of Xuân Nam (11) replacing a tiring Baldé (99).

City were huffing and puffing but time and again, the final ball was eluding them with move after move breaking down at the last moment.

With 15 minutes to go, Văn Quyết (10) thought he was through on the City goal but play had been brought back for a foul on Diakité who hurt his shoulder in the process.

82 minutes and it was the visitors again who were to threaten.  Omar broke free but as he was about to shoot he was forced wide by Diakité who was having another storming game at the back alongside Hữu Tuấn.  Omar's cross into the area was intercepted by that man Hữu Tuấn and Tiến Dũng gathered.

Hà Nội were beginning to turn the screw.  With six minutes left on the clock Văn Xuân (45) had two great opportunities in quick succession.  After bursting through the City back line his initial attempt at finding team mate Văn Quyết was blocked by Hữu Tuấn.  However, the ball fell kindly for the Hà Nội player.  His right footed effort being smartly saved low down by an alert Tiến Dũng in the City goal.

Has the game entered the allotted 4 extra minutes, Hoàng Thịnh (9) tried his luck from distance but saw the ball fly very high and not so handsome wide of the visitors goal.

There was just time for a final Hà Nội attack.  Văn Quyết robbing Ngọc Đức (7) of the ball found Hùng Dũng (88) who in turn found Omar on the edge of the City box.  His shot lacked any power and was easily saved by Tiến Dũng.

 

There was no more time for City to respond and their dream of a first Super Cup triumph was over.  For at least a year. 

Teams

HCMC FC : 35. Tiến Dũng, 2. Tùng Quốc, 7. Sầm Ngọc Đức, 71. Công Thành (81. Anh Tuấn 62mins), 15. Hữu Tuấn, 9. Hoàng Thịnh, 10. Phi Sơn, 28. Công Hiến (16. Huy Toàn 45mins), 21. Công Phượng, 44. Diakité, 99. Baldé (11. Xuân Nam 72mins)

Hà Nội FC : 30. Văn Công, 16. Thành Chung, 28. Duy Mạnh, 13. Văn Kiên, 45. Văn Xuân, 8. Moses, 15. Đức Huy, 88. Hùng Dũng, 10. Văn Quyết, 29. Ngân Văn Đại, 20. Pape Omar

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Full Time : Ho Chi Minh City FC 1-2 Hà Nội FC

Match Highlights

©2018 by Darren Smale