City went down 0-1 to Viettel FC at the SVĐ Hàng Đẫy as they returned to league action in Week 14 of the 2019 Wake-Up 247 V-League 1.
After playing two away games in quick succession and with both games going to penalties, it was no surprise that Coach Chung Hae-soung rang the changes for tonight's V-League 1 clash. In total there were five changes from the team that had defeated Hải Phòng FC the previous Wednesday night. Into the starting line up came keeper Thanh Thắng (1) making his first appearance since receiving an injury against Quảng Nam FC in Week 9, Hoàng Thịnh (9), Minh Trung (17), Công Hiển (28) and Công Thành (71). Dropping to the bench went keeper Thanh Diệp (25), Tùng Quốc (2), Thanh Bình (8), Quang Nam (18) and Văn Thành (99). There was no place in the squad for Club Captain Kesley who sustained a slight muscle strain during the previous game.
Despite City's schedule, they were not exhibiting any signs of tiredness in the opening minutes and indeed it was City who were to fashion the game's first real chance. On 9 minutes, Công Thành (71) stole the ball down City's left and fed Ismaheel (24), a quick interchange with Công Hiến (28) resulted in the little winger finding Mansary (80) in a great position in the centre of the host's box. His attempted turn and untimely stumble saw the ball land kindly and invitingly at the feet of an unmarked Hoàng Thịnh (9). Unfortunately he was was unable to take full advantage of the opportunity shooting straight at Thế Tài (25) in the Viettel goal.
Both teams were struggling to find any fluidity in their play and as the game entered the 22nd minute, Hoàng Thịnh's effort remained the only shot on target from either side. That stat was almost challenged in the 23rd minute and again the chance fell City's way. A flick on by Ismaheel (24) found Mansary (80). But with his back to goal and in a tight position, he was unable to direct an effort on goal.
With a third of the game completed, the hosts were to be presented with a great opportunity to take the lead. A floated cross into the City box saw Jean Carlo (70) beat the City keeperThanh Thắng (1) to the ball, his pass finding an unmarked Trọng Hoàng (89). Fortunately for City, the U23 International was only able to flight the ball wide of the City goal with Thanh Thắng scrambling back and Công Thành (71) trying to cover an empty net. The hosts had still yet to register an effort on target.
That was to almost change moments later. Ngọc Đức (7) was caught in possession by Bruno (39) who was able to break free of the City defense. Just as he was about to pull the trigger, a timely and well executed intervention by City's Hữu Tuấn (15) saw the ball out for a Viettel corner.
City's play was now showing signs of tiredness. On 35, Trọng Hoàng (89) was left all alone on the edge of City's area. Again there was to be a timely intervention, this time is was to be Christian (88) who put his body on the line and prevented an effort on goal.
With the clock ticking down to the interval City were presented with a half chance. Văn Thuận (14) floated in a free kick and although Ismaheel (24) was able to raise above his marker he was unable to put enough power into his header with Mansary (80) only inches away from directing the ball into the net.
As the game entered the allotted 2 minutes stoppage time City almost presented the hosts with the opportunity to take the lead. Christian (88) was caught in possession by Hoàng Đức (28) who should really have done better with the chance neither shooting or passing to a team mate. Not for the first time Hữu Tuấn (15) was in the right place at the right time to stifle the danger.
Half Time : Viettel FC 0 - 0 Ho Chi Minh City FC
The hosts started the second period very much on the front foot and City were almost the instigators of their own downfall. Jean Carlo (70) was able to find Bruno (37) who was given the freedom of the City box to pick out team mate. However, the assistant referee's flag was raised and the danger passed.
City were struggling to gain any kind of a foothold in the game with Bruno (37) having a particularly impressive game for the hosts.
On 54 minutes however, City were to fashion a great opportunity. Good work between Ngọc Đức (7) and Minh Trung (17) reulted in the former finding Công Hiến (28) in the centre. He was able to lay the ball off into the path of the on coming Văn Thuận (14). Unfortunately, his effort was to curl the wrong side of the Viettel goal.
City were now enjoying their best period of possession of the half and on 55 minutes an inviting low cross from Hoàng Thịnh (9) was just a fraction away from finding Mansary (80) in a dangerous position.
Coach Chung Hai-soung made his first change on the hour mark bringing on Quang Nam (18) for Minh Trung (17) who had put in a good shift. Quang Nam was straight into the action setting up Công Hiến (28) with a half chance which, under pressure, he blazed high over the Viettel bar.
Viettel almost took the lead on 65 minutes. Jean Carlo (70) was allowed time to control the ball in the City box and pick out striking partner Bruno (37). His shot saved by the City stopper Thanh Thắng.
67 minutes in and the deadlock was broken going in the way of the hosts. A quick break from a City attack saw Trọng Hoàng (89), who up to now had been almost invisible during the second period, find Jean Carlo who, not for the first time this evening, found Bruno in the centre. This time there was to be no intervention and he was able to sweep the ball past Thanh Thắng and into the City net. Viettel FC 1 - 0 HCMC FC
Perhaps in response to the goal or maybe a reflection of the workload put in over the previous week, Coach Chung Hae-soung made his second substitution of the night on 70 minutes sending on Thanh Bình (8) for Văn Thuận (14).
City were stepping up the pressure in an effort to find a way back into the game. Công Hiến (28) sent a looping cross into the Viettel box finding the recently introduced Thanh Bình (8) at the far post. His cross put behind for a City corner. The resultant corner saw Hoàng Thịnh (9) shoot narrowly over the host's bar.
City continued to press and it was Thanh Bình's turn to test Thế Tài in the Viettel goal sending an header from the edge of the box goalwards.
Even with the tank almost empty and running on fumes, City refused to give up displaying an attitude of 'never give up' which has served well in the past. On 77 minutes Thanh Bình (8) again threatened the Viettel goal. This time his effort from the edge of the box going narrowly past the upright.
With twelve minutes left on the clock the hosts had the perfect opportunity to put the game beyond City. A quick one-two between Hoàng Đức (28) and Jean Carlo (70) presented the former with a one-on-one chance. Not for the first time this season City's keeper Thanh Thắng was up to the task and kept the score at 0-1.
As the clock ticked down Coach Chung Hae-soung made his final change of the night sending on Hoàng Thiên (19) in place of a tiring Ngọc Đức (7). With less than 2 minutes remaining City were to fashion another chance to rescue a point. Thanh Bình (8) who had been very lively since coming on latched on to a half clearance sending a header across the Viettel box. Quang Nam (18) meeting the ball but his header, although having the power, lacked the direction and flew wide of the goal.
As the game entered the four minutes of additional time City were to create and squander another chance to snatch a well deserved point. Christian (88) found Mansary (80) who in turn fed Ismaheel (24) on the wing. His cross was just behind Hoàng Thịnh (9) who was unable to control the ball and the chance went begging.
With City pushing hard for the equaliser they were in danger of leaving the back exposed and in the 94th minute they were almost made to pay. The ever dangerous Bruno (37) broke clear and once again found his partner Jean Carlo (70). His effort was deflected for a corner by the alert Công Thành (71).
There were to be no more chances and City, despite fighting to the very last, suffered their third defeat of the season.
Final Score : Viettel FC 1 - 0 Ho Chi Minh City FC
Viettel FC : 25. Thế Tài, 4. Tiến Dũng, 2. Ngọc Hải (7. Duy Thường, 81'), 14 Santos, 9. Ngọc Sơn, 89. Trọng Hoàng, 21. Đức Chiến, 28. Hoàng Đức (6. Minh Tuấn, 90'), 96. Trọng Đại (5. Văn Thiết, 61'), 70. Jean Carlo, 37. Bruno
HCMC FC : 1. Thanh Thắng, 15. Hữu Tuấn, 88. Ewonde, 9. Hoàng Thịnh, 14. Văn Thuận (8. Thanh Bình, 71'), 71. Công Thành, 7. Ngọc Đức (19. Hoàng Thiên, 88'), 28. Công Hiến, 17. Minh Trung (18. Quang Nam, 61'), 24. Akinade, 80. Mansary
Follow This Link To Watch The Official Highlights on VPF YouTube Channel