City leave it late to increase the gap over Hà Nội to 5 points after snatching a 92nd minute winner courtesy of the boot of No. 9 Ngô Hoàng Thịnh at a near full SVĐ Cửa Ông.

As per previous weeks, Coach Chung Hae Seong was forced to ring the changes in the City Starting X1.  Changes to the X1 that started the previous game at home against Quảng Nam : In - Goalkeeper Nguyễn Thanh Diệp (25) replacing the injured Nguyễn Thanh Thắng (1). Trần Thanh Bình (8) and Joel (94) from the bench and Christian (88) returning after suspension.  Dropping to the bench were - Vũ Ngọc Thịnh (20), Võ Út Cường (56) and Vũ Anh Tuấn (81). 


City started the game in their now familiar style of cautious counter-attacking football and it was quickly evident that this style would cause the hosts problems in breaking down a City side full of confidence.  Even the intense heat could not slow down City's slick passing.  

On 5 minutes, a floated cross from City's right was only partially cleared.  The ball dropping to Quang Nam (18) who fired wide of the hosts goal from the edge of the box.  Ten minutes in and a hopeful City clearance found the head of Matias (11). Although his knock on was intercepted Joel (94) was able to block the intended clearance from Than Quảng Ninh's No. 22 Lastro Neven.  Joel's strength and desire doing the rest as he was able to beat off the challenge of two defenders and slot the ball past Huỳnh Tuấn Linh in the Than Quảng Ninh goal.  1-0 City.

City set about controlling the midfield and reducing any space available to Quảng Ninh.  In previous games where City had scored first they had gone on to collect at least a point.  It was therefore a little bit of a surprise when in the 33rd minute the hosts were to fashion an equaliser.  A ball into the City from 23 box somehow found its way to Mạc Hồng Quân (8) who slotted home to bring Quảng Ninh level.  1-1

City should have been back in front on 38 minutes.  Joel was able to capitalise on a miss control by Lastro Neven from Christian's (88) clearance.  However and known only in the head of the referee, Joel was adjudged to have fouled the defender.  The decision visibly annoying Coach Chung Hae Seong who was spoken to by the ref.  Not for the first time this season City had been denied by a bizarre referring decision. 


Encouraged by the knowledge that the ref was not going to allow City to score again, Quảng Ninh went on the offensive.  A corner found the hosts No. 27 Quách Tân who had time to find his spot.  Luckily for City his spot was wide of the City goal.  Deep into added time at the end of the first period, a cross from Quảng Ninh's Xuân Tú (77) found Herman (71) in the centre of City's box.  His header was brilliantly saved by City stopper Nguyễn Thanh Diệp keeping the scores level at half time.

Half Time : Than Quảng Ninh 1 Ho Chi Minh City FC 1

Coach Chung Hae Seong made his first change during the interval.  No. 56 Võ Út Cường coming on to replace Phạm Văn Thành (99).  However, it was the hosts who were to start the second period on the front foot and were beginning to cause City real problems down both flanks.  For the first time this season City looked like they could be rocking.  On 65 minutes, an in-swinging cross from Quảng Ninh's Thanh Hào (3) somehow broke to Trung Hiếu (17) whose shot came back off the City post.

However, as we have learnt in previous games, this City side are made of sterner (stubborn) stuff.  Quảng Ninh were getting desperate and on 69 minutes both Dương Thanh Hào and Lastro received yellow cards.

With both teams looking for the winner and time fast running out, it was, and not for the first time this season, the last minute kings City who were to steal the points.  With the clock showing 90, a mishit cross by City's No. 2 Ngô Tùng Quốc was palmed over the bar by the host's keeper.  The resulting corner, taken by City's 8 Trần Thanh Bình was played along the gound to the edge of the box where a waiting Ngô Hoàng Thịnh (9), who had replaced Matias on 79 minutes, gladly stroked the ball home to give City an unlikely 2-1 victory.  The goal sparking unbridled joy both on the City bench and among the four travelling fans on the terraces and utter despair on the Quảng Ninh bench.

Full Time : Than Quảng Ninh 1 Ho Chi Minh City FC 2

This was the third time that City had scored right at the death to win all three points.  In Week 1 Lê Hoàng Thiên scored to give City a 1-0 victory over Hải Phòng FC at the SVĐ Thống Nhất and in Week 5 it was Joel's turn to score a last gasp winner in the 3-2 victory at B. Bình Dương.


Than Quảng Ninh : 26. Tuấn Linh, 22. Neven, 3. Thanh Hào, 2. Văn Khoa, 23. Tiến Duy, 15. Nhật Minh, 14. Hải Huy, 8. Hồng Quân, 27. Quách Tân, 77. Xuân Tú, 71. Herman

HCMC FC : 25. Thanh Diệp, 15. Hữu Tuấn, 88. Epassi, 7. Ngọc Đức (2. Tùng Quốc 74mins), 71. Công Thành, 8. Thanh Bình, 14. Văn Thuận, 99. Văn Thành (56. Út Cường 46mins), 18. Quang Nam, 11. Matias (9. Hoàng Thịnh 79mins), 94. Vinicius

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©2018 by Darren Smale