City qualified for the Quarter Finals of the Cúp Quốc Gia Bamboo Airways 2019 with a 4-3 Penalty Shoot-Out victory away to Viettel FC
The talk before the game between Viettel FC and City was the inclusion of new boy Akinade Ismaheel signed from Irish side Waterford FC and the surprise exclusion of top scorer Joel (94) whose name failed to appear on the club's squad list that was submitted to the match officials. It later transpired that Joel was no longer in the coach's thinking although he is still contracted to the club.
City made two changes from the starting line up that drew the previous game against Thanh Hóa. Into the starting XI came Nos 71 Công Thành and 77 Kesley. Văn Thành (99) dropped to the bench whilst Joel (99), as previously mentioned, disappeared altogether. Viettel for their part welcomed into their ranks Vietnamese International Trọng Hoàng (89) who had missed the first half of the season due to him signing after the transfer window had closed.
Despite a brief rain shower two hours before kick-off and a 19:00 start, the game was played in stifling humidity.
With barely a minute on the clock, City were almost made to pay for some sloppy play at the back. A misplaced pass from the usually reliable Văn Thuận (14) found its way to Viettel's No 37 Bruno. His shot however flew well wide of the City goal. There was no doubt that the hosts had settled the quicker of the two sides and in the early stages tried to exploit any space down both City flanks. Bruno again trying his luck on 8 minutes letting fly from fully 35 metres. His shot easily saved by Thanh Diệp (25) in the City goal.
Despite having little of the play during the opening 15 minutes, it was City who were to strike first. With 13 minutes on the clock, Văn Thuận (14) found Công Thành (71) on City's left. Công Thành was able to easily beat Duy Thường (7) and his cross was met by Captain Kesley (77) whose powerful header was too strong for Viettel's goalkeeper Thế Tài who could only get a hand to the ball as it flew into the goal. Viettel FC 0-1 HCMC FC
City's next opportunity came in the 23rd minute. A corner taken by Minh Trung (17) was partially cleared to Hoàng Thịnh (9). However, unlike previous efforts this season that have flown into the net, this effort flew high and wide of the target. Barely a minute later and it was the host's turn to threaten. A cross from City's right found the ever dangerous Bruno in the box. Fortunately for City his outstretched leg could only deflect the ball over the bar.
Probably due to the humidity, the game was being played largely at a snails pace with only the momentary injection of pace. This was a theme that would be continued throughout the contest.
On the half hour, a cross from Viettel's right by Duy Thường (7) was met by Kayo (90). His header lacked pace and was easily collected by City's stopper Thanh Diệp.
Two minutes later and it was almost 1-1. A corner swung into the City box was met by the head of Đức Chiến (21) who really should have done a lot better with the opportunity. With the goal seemingly at his mercy his header was weak and misguided and the opportunity passed. The challenge from Công Thành enough to unsettle the youngster.
35 minutes in and it was 1-1. A flick on by Kayo (90) should have been dealt with by City's Christian (88). However, he completely missed his clearance and although Thanh Diệp was able to save the first effort by Trọng Hoàng (89), the ball fell kindly and he was able to slip the rebound home. Viettel FC 1-1 HCMC FC
City should have been back in front three minutes later. Kesley winning possession in midfield was able to pay Quang Nam (18) through the middle. Although finding himself on a one-on-one with the Viettel keeper, the striker looked shy of confidence finding the keeper's head rather than the back of the net for only a City corner.
Quang Nam was to find himself involved in City's next opportunity. With 41 minutes on the clock, Văn Thuận's (14) delightful pass again put the striker through on goal. This time his attempt to round the keeper had too much pace on it and the ball went behind for what appeared to be a goal kick. Astonishingly the referee awarding City a corner.
Two minutes into the one minute of added time and with the referee apparently happy to continue playing until Viettel scored, City were almost made to pay for their earlier misses. A through ball into the box found Bruno. His turn and cross cum shot blocked for a corner by Christian. The corner however came to nothing and with no further reason to keep on playing the referee blew for half time.
Half Time : Viettel FC 1 - 1 Ho Chi Minh City FC
City made a change to start the second period with No 99 Văn Thành coming on to replace Minh Trung (17) who had had a steady 45 minutes.
As was the case in the first half, it was the hosts who settled the quickest. Three minutes into the second period Bruno (37) found himself through on the City goal. However, the outstretched leg of Tùng Quốc (2) deflected the atempted shot for a Viettel corner which was easily collected by Thanh Diệp.
Viettel were being afforded far too much space and on 51 minutes City were made to pay. Trọng Hoàng (89) was able to slip in Bruno who this time made no mistake despite the challenge from Christian and was able to find the back of City's net. Viettel FC 2-1 HCMC FC
The hosts were now sharper in the tackles and pressing the City midfield. Three minutes after taking the lead Bruno again found himself with an opportunity. This time the combination of Hữu Tuấn (15) and Christian blocked the effort. Rather surprisingly, Bruno was to be substituted on 55 minutes being replaced by Minh Tuấn (6).
In an attempt to change things, on 57 minutes Coach Chung Hae-soung sent on new boy Akinade Ismaheel (24) in place of Quang Nam who must be wondering what he needs to do to score. And the new boy was instantly into the action flicking on a header which Công Thành (71) was unable to fully control.
Viettel were still finding far too much space and again threatened to make City pay. Duy Thường (7) found Minh Tuấn (6) who had just entered the fray alone in the City box. His attempted volley whistling just wide of the goal with a flying Thanh Diệp clutching thin air.
61 minutes in and City's new boy had the opportunity to equalise. A delightful pass from the ever influential Kesley found Ismaheel on the corner of the six yard box. However, as he attempted to swivel and shoot he appeared to lose his footing and the opportunity passed.
Barely two minutes later and it was 2-2 with Ismaheel finding the target. Not for the first time this season, Văn Thuận (14) was able to pick out his target with a pin point cross, Ismaheel controlled the ball on his chest and struck a delightful left footed shot in the corner of the Viettel goal. Viettel FC 2-2 HCMC FC
Spaces were still appearing in a City defence that looked strangely at odds. Minh Tuấn (6) was proving to be just as much of a handful for the City defence as was the player he replaced - Bruno. Christian needing to be at his most alert on 67 minutes to prevent another opening.
Twenty minutes to go and it was 3-2 to the hosts and it was of no surprise that Trọng Hoàng (89) was involved. His defence splitting pass putting Việt Phong (11) through and he was to make no mistake lifting the ball over a diving Thanh Diệp into the City net. Viettel FC 3-2 HCMC FC.
The game was beginning to become stretched as players started to tire. On 73 minutes a loose pass out of the Viettel defence found its way to Văn Thuận. However, his intended pass to Kesley was slightly over hit and was easily cleared by the host's keeper as Kesley bared down on goal.
With little over 13 minutes remaining Viettel had the opportunity to put the game to bed. Công Thành's (71) interception fell to Kayo (90) but his effort was high and wide.
City were pressing hard for an equaliser to send the game at least into penalties. With the clock ticking towards 80 minutes a period of pressure saw Ismaheel (24) find Văn Thuận (14) on the edge of the box. His effort, althought hit well, was straight at the keeper who was able to recover from an initial fumble and keep the score at 3-2 to the hosts.
As a last throw of the dice, or perhaps with the possibility of penalties looming, City made their final change with No 8 Thanh Bình coming on to replace Hoàng Thịnh (9) on 83 minutes.
City were to get their equaliser and it was to come via the penalty spot. With the clock showing 86 minutes a clumsy looking challenge by Viettel's No 5 Văn Thiết on City's Văn Thành (99) resulted in the referee pointing straight to the spot. Captain Kesley kept his cool and slotted the ball home to make it all square again. Viettel FC 3-3 HCMC FC
There was to be no more efforts and penalties awaited.
Full Time : Viettel FC 3 - 3 Ho Chi Minh City FC
Viettel FC HCMC FC
Minh Tuấn (6) 1-0
Thanh Bình(8) 1-1
Ngọc Hải (3) 2-1
Ismaheel (24) MISS 2-1
Ngọc Sơn (9) SAVED 2-1
Văn Thuận (14) 2-2
Đức Chiến (21) MISS 2-2
Tùng Quốc (2) 2-3
Việt Phong (11) 3-3
Kesley (77) 3-4
Viettel FC: 25. Thế Tài, 5. Văn Thiết, 3. Ngọc Hải, 9. Ngọc Sơn, 28. Hoàng Đức, 21. Đức Chiến, 96. Trọng Đại, 7. Duy Thường (11. Việt Phong, 67’), 89. Trọng Hoàng, 90. Kayo, 37. Bruno (6. Minh Tuấn, 56’).
HCMC FC: 25. Thanh Diệp, 15. Hữu Tuấn, 71. Công Thành, 88. Ewonde, 17. Minh Trung (99 Văn Thành 45'), 14. Văn Thuận, 2. Tùng Quốc, 28. Công Hiển, 9. Hoàng Thịnh (8. Thanh Bình 83'), 18. Quang Nam (24. Akinade, 60’), 77. Kesley
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