City draw a blank against Thanh Hóa FC in the last game before the mini break and see the the gap over rivals Hà Nội reduced to 2 points at the top of V-League 1 in Week 13 of the 2019 season.
City went into the last game before the mini break hoping to increase the gap at the top of the table to 4 points following Hà Nội's 2-0 victory over Sài Gòn the previous night. Thanh Hóa FC however arrived at the Thống Nhất in full confidence after going the previous seven games unbeaten. A run which included four victories.
Coach Chung Hae-soung once again rang the changes bringing in Đỗ Văn Thuận (14), Christian (88) and Phạm Văn Thành (99). Missing out on the starting XI were Nguyễn Tăng Tiến (4), Sầm Ngọc Đức (7) and Vũ Anh Tuấn (81).
Despite the Thanh Hóa's obvious confidence, it was however City who were to start the brightest and almost instantly put the visitors on the back foot. City's first real opportunity though did not materialise until the 19th minute. A move involving Minh Trung (17) and Joel (94) saw the ball fall to Hoàng Thịnh (9) on the edge of the box. Unfortunately, his long range effort failed to test Bá Sơn in the visitor's goal. City were continuing to set the pace but had to wait until the half hour mark for their next real goal scoring opportunity. A through ball from stand in captain Văn Thuận (14) intended for Quang Nam (18) found its way to Joel (94) via a Thanh Hóa defender. Joel was able to slip Quang Nam in but after taking perhaps one touch too many, his left footed effort flew wide of the goal.
With time running out it was Văn Thành's (99) turn to try his luck. Cutting in from the City left his effort looked like finding the back of the net only for the ball to fly narrowly wide of it's intended mark. A half of endevour on the part of City was to end with no further efforts on goal.
Half Time : Ho Chi Minh City FC 0 Thanh Hóa FC 0
Perhaps in an attempt to instill more attacking intent and speed of play, Coach Chung Hae-soung introduced Club Captain Kelsey (77) at the start of the second period replacing Quang Nam (18) who once again had created opportunities but failed to trouble the scoreboard.
City again started the half the brighter of the two teams and seemed determined to press home their home advantage. On 48 minutes Văn Thành (99) wriggled his way into the visitor's box after a skillful run. His effort, as per previous efforts by City failed to trouble the Thanh Hóa keeper and with Minh Trung (17) all alone in the box, upon reflection a cross might have been the better option.
On the hour mark another City chance came and went. City's No 2 Tùng Quốc played in Minh Trung (17). His cross however was both too high and too strong for the onrushing Joel to control and the chance went begging. City were almost made to pay for their wasteful approach as visiting striker Rimario (11) was put clean through. Only a last ditch tackle from Christian (88) who appeared to get the slightest touch on the ball saw the ball rebound off the City post and prevented Thanh Hóa from taking an unlikely lead.
In an attempt to break the deadlock, Coach Chung Hae-soung threw on Thanh Bình (8) on 75 minutes to replace Văn Thuận (14) and on the 80th minute mark Hoàng Thiên (19) to replace Minh Trung (17). City's attempts were however still being limited to long range efforts. With 8 minutes to go No 9 Hoàng Thịnh again tried his luck but his shot dipped over the bar rather than under it.
As the clock ticked over into the 90th minute, City were almost handed a winner in the strangest of circumstances. A seemingly harmless knock on by Joel was miss controlled by the Thanh Hóa keeper with the ball trickling toward the net. Bá Sơn was able to recover in time to prevent a hugely embarrassing moment for the goal stopper. That was to prove to be the last of the action with City having to settle for a point.
Full Time : Ho Chi Minh City FC 0 Thanh Hóa FC 0
HCMC FC 25. Thanh Diệp, 2. Tùng Quốc, 9. Hoàng Thịnh, 14. Văn Thuận (8. Thanh Bình, 75’), 15. Hữu Tuấn, 17. Minh Trung (19. Hoàng Thiên, 80’), 18. Quang Nam (77. Huỳnh Kesley, 46’), 28. Công Hiển, 88. Ewonde, 94. Vinicius, 99. Văn Thành.
Thanh Hoá: 1. Bá Sơn, 2. Đình Tùng (20. Trọng Hùng, 49’), 5. Minh Tùng, 7. Tiến Thành (9. Hữu Dũng, 60’), 8. Văn Hiếu (90.Văn Hội, 84’), 10. Văn Thắng, 11. Rimario, 14. Samuel, 26. Văn Đại, 28. Gramoz, 29. Văn Nam.
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