Phạm Công Hiển sees red but City regain top spot in the 2019 Wake-Up 247 V-League 1 Table. 

Goals from Trần Thanh Bình (30 minutes) and Nguyễn Tăng Tiến (88 minutes) secured a hard fought, well earned victory over S. Khánh Hòa 2-1 at the SVĐ 19 tháng 8 on Monday night in front of 3,500 fans.  The victory, coupled with Hà Nội's 2-2 draw the previous evening away to B. Bình Dương, saw City regain top spot and ensured that City maintained their best start to a season since returning to the top flight in 2016.

Coach Chung Hae Seong made three changes from the side that lost 0-1 to Hà Nội FC.  Into the starting X1 came Ngô Tùng Quốc (2), Quang Nam (18) and Võ Út Cường (56).  Making way were Sầm Ngọc Đức (7), Phạm Công Hiển (28) and Joel (94).  Still missing from the squad were Matias (11) and long term injury Trần Phi Sơn (10).

Following the pattern of earlier games, City were slow out of the blocks and took their time to adjust to the conditions.  Unlike other games though, City were to be punished for their slow start and for only the second time this season were to find themselves behind in a game.  Đỗ Văn Thuận (14) conceded a free kick 30 yards from the City goal on 2 minutes, and although the initial free kick taken by Khánh Hòa's No. 31 Huỳnh Nhật Tân was cleared, a subsequent miss-hit shot somehow found its way through to an unmarked Phạm Trùm Tỉnh (11) who calmly slotted the ball passed the unprotected Nguyễn Thanh Thắng in the City goal.  0-1

Despite the very early set-back, City continued with their passing game.  And this was almost to cost them.  In the 6th minute, Christian (88) found Nguyễn Công Thành (71) in the centre of the pitch.  However, Công Thành was caught in possession by Nhật Tân (31) Công Thành's pass back to Thanh Thắng put the keeper under immense pressure.  Fortunately his clearance rebounded off the pursuing Nhật Tân and went out for a City goal kick.

Not learning from this mistake, after a spell of passing the ball sideways, Nguyễn Hữu Tuấn (15) was caught out.  He was able to recover and make a timely interception in the City box.

City were struggling to find any rhythm in the game due to Khánh Hòa's high pressing.  It was City however who fashioned the game's next chance.  On 9 minutes, a City free kick taken by Captain Kesley (77) was have cleared by Khánh Hòa's Chaher Zarour (93).  His clearance fell to Văn Thuận (14) who shot wide.

Khánh Hòa's Zarour (93) was lucky to escape a red card on 17 minutes.  A Nhật Tân free kick was swung into the City box and as City keeper Thanh Thắng collected the ball, Zarour inexplicably went for the high ball with his foot, almost decapitating Thanh Thắng in the process.  

Khánh Hòa were enjoying their best spell of the game since taking an early lead and on the 25 minute mark Coach Chung Hae Seong was forced to make his first change of the evening.  Kesley (77) appeared to be suffering a muscle strain was replaced by Phạm Công Hiển (28).  A change which seemed to inject life into City.  

28 minutes and a City throw in taken by vice-Captain Văn Thuận was partially cleared resulting in a City corner.  Văn Thuận's set piece was met by the fist of Tuấn Mạnh (26).  Thanh Bình (8) retrieved the ball and after receiving a pass from Võ Út Cường (56) unleashed an unstoppable volley from the edge of the box and City were deservedly level at 1-1.

1-1 almost became 2-1 on 34 minutes.  A threw ball from Phạm Văn Thành (99) was slightly too heavy for Công Thành (71) and Tuấn Mạnh (26) was able to gather in the Khánh Hòa goal.

City's equaliser seemed to have the effect of knocking the stuffing out of the hosts and City almost extended their lead with two efforts in the space of 3 minutes.  First it was Văn Thuận who saw his effort fly wide.  Then Công Hiển (28) tried his luck.  This time the effort was palmed away for a corner by the diving Tuấn Mạnh.

Half Time : S. Khánh Hòa 1 Ho Chi Minh City 1

Khánh Hòa introduced Duy An (17) for Nhật Tân (31) for the start of the second half.  The hosts were certainly having the better exchanges during the opening phases of the second period.  On 55 minutes, Khánh Hòa striker Oliveira (30) had two opportunities to restore the home side's lead.  However, on both occasions, City's No. 1 Thanh Thắng was equal to the challenge.  It was time for the referee to step in and take centre stage.  Công Hiển was caught in possession and in his attempt to reclaim the ball inadvertently brought down Khánh Hòa's Trùm Tỉnh (11).  Although clearly not the last man, the referee determined to see his name in lights, showed a straight red card to a totally bemused and upset Công Hiển.  The resultant free-kick was well saved by the ever impressive Thanh Thắng.  

Previous seasons would have seen City collapse.  This team however is made of sterner stuff.  It was no surprise that the majority of the following time was spent with the hosts trying to break down the City defence.  In an attempt to shore things up, Coach Chung Hae Seong introduced Ngọc Đức (7) for Văn Thành (99) on 76 minutes.  However, with possibly City's most influential player - No.14 Văn Thuận controlling things in City's midfield, it was the 10 men who were to fashion what was ultimately the defining moment of the game.  On 83 minutes a City corner found it's way to substitute Tăng Tiến (14).  His bouncing effort looped over the despairing arms of Tuấn Mạnh in the Khánh Hòa goal and it was 2-1 City!! 

There was still time for the hosts to fashion a couple of chances.  Firstly a defensive header by Christian almost found its way to a Khánh Hòa forward.  The resultant melee saw the ball cleared.  Then on 93 minutes the ball fell to an unmarked Duy An (17) but he was unable to take advantage of the opportunity.  

Full Time : S. Khánh Hòa 1 Ho Chi Minh City 2


S.Khánh Hòa : 26. Tuấn Mạnh, 93. Zarour, 3. Trọng Bình, 9. Đình Khương (8. Hoài An, 80’), 11. Trùm Tỉnh, 15. Văn Phong, 19. Tấn Tài, 24. Duy Thanh (23. Trung Hiếu, 87’), 31. Nhật Tân (17. Duy An 46'), 30. Oliveira.


HCMC FC : 1. Thanh Thắng, 2. Tùng Quốc, 88. Ewonde, 15. Hữu Tuấn, 8. Thanh Bình, 56. Út Cường (4. Tăng Tiến, 84’), 71. Công Thành, 14. Văn Thuận, 99. Văn Thành (7. Ngọc Đức, 76’), 18. Quang Nam, 77. Huỳnh Kesley (28. Công Hiển, 23’). 

Follow This Link To Watch The Official Highlights on VPF YouTube Channel 

Match Photos

©2018 by Darren Smale