Two late goals from Lamn Henry and Rodgers helped Halida Thanh Hoa stun defending champions Dong Tam Long An with a 2 – 0 victory at home on Sunday.
|Halida Thanh Hoa’s Mai Tien Thanh (red) fights for the ball with Dong Tam Long An’s Hoang Thuong|
Rodgers put his team ahead with a long-range shot before Henry capitalized on an error by Brazilian goalkeeper Santos’ to net in an empty goal.
The visitors dominated the game soon after kickoff, with national stars Phan Van Tai Em and Nguyen Minh Phuong creating many scoring chances for top-ranked duo Antonio Carlos and Tshamala up front.
But it was the host side that carved out the first scoring opportunity in the 15th minute when skipper Thanh Dung’s hesitation to avoid an offside penalty allowed goalie Santos to turn the ball away in a one-on-one challenge.
Dong Huy Thai came close in the 22nd minute when he curled a whirlwind free kick from 20 meters toward the top corner of the net, only for keeper Santos to produce a brilliant diving save to punch the ball away.
The visitors from the southwest gradually restored their composure with Tshamala forcing a nervous save from keeper Manh Ha with a left-footed strike from 25 meters out in the 31st minute.
Dong Tam Long An’s top scorer got in on the act three minutes later with a fierce shot from inside the penalty area, but found the wrong side of the net with an albeit skillful move.
The southerners continued to keep pressure on the host side one minute after the half with Minh Phuong delivering a precise pass to Tshamala, who fired over the bar in a one-on-one with Manh Ha.
Carlos almost opened scoring three minutes later when he blasted a powerful shot from outside the six-yard box that was denied by Manh Ha.
But the defending champions paid for wasting their earlier chances with the approach of the close when Rodgers won the ball from Lam Huy at the edge of the box before firing past Santos with a fine shot.
A shocked Dong Tam Long An rallied strongly, gambling on a free kick from 25 meters out with goalie Santos – who is over two meters tall – lurking dangerously in the penalty area.
But the ball was cleared out of Halida Thanh Hoa’s area and found the feet of substitute Henry, who finished cleanly into an empty net.
Halida Thanh Hoa: Manh Ha, Kizito, Mai Xuan Hop, Hoang Dam, Rodgers, Trong Hai, Thanh Dung, Amakuro, Tien Thanh, Huy Thai, Van Thanh
Dong Tam Long An: Santos, Van Giau, Van Khai, Nguyen Minh Phuong, Antonio, Phan Van Tai Em, Tshamala, Nhat Tien, Hoang Thuong, Xuan Hoang, Lam Huy
The V-League Petro Viet Nam Gas 2007 Table:
Team P W D L Pts 1 BECAMEX BINH DUONG 18 12 5 1 41 2 HOANG ANH GIA LAI 18 8 4 6 28 3 DA NANG 18 7 5 4 28 4 HALIDA THANH HOA 18 7 7 4 28 5 PISICO BINH DINH 18 7 5 6 26 6 NAM DINH 18 6 7 5 25 7 DONG TAM LONG AN 18 6 5 6 24 8 SONG LAM NGHE AN 18 5 8 5 23 9 SOUTHERN STEEL SAIGON PORT 18 5 6 7 21 10 KHATOCO KHANH HOA 18 6 3 9 21 11 HA NOI ACB 18 5 5 8 20 12 DONG THAP 18 3 9 6 18 13 HOA PHAT HA NOI 18 4 6 8 18 14 HUDA HUE 18 3 6 8 15