League football is back in Vietnam this week after the last-sixteen of the cup took centre stage last weekend. While there weren’t any major upsets, Nam Dinh are now in big trouble after getting dumped out by V-League 2 outfit Binh Phuoc. We’ll begin with Nam Dinh before moving onto the likes of Ha Noi as Nam Dinh actually play before this article is published.

Nam Dinh Need To Buck Their Ideas Up

Nam Dinh, who only have a point to their name, travel to Song Lam Nghe An (SLNA). If they’re not careful, they could end up seven points adrift at the foot of the league which is dreadful when you consider that this is only the seventh game of the season.

Their only saving grace is that SLNA haven’t been anywhere near their best and considering they progressed to the quarter-finals, there could well be a chance that their focus is solely on that.

For what it’s worth, Nam Dinh haven’t won away at SLNA since 2002. Let that sink in. It’s hard to see that changing this time as Nam Dinh look very, very poor.

For The Record, So Do Sai Gon

Elsewhere today, FLC Thanh Hoa host Sai Gon who are another side who are bang in trouble. With the introduction of the relegation play-off this season, Sai Gon could do with getting something against FLC Thanh Hoa, similar to Nam Dinh though, they are shite.

I haven’t seen Nam Dinh yet this season, yet I find it hard to imagine that they can be that bad in comparison to Sai Gon.

Thanh Hoa are split down the middle. They’ve played six, won two, drawn two and you’ve guessed it, lost two as well. Sai Gon could well have their work cut out though as the home side are unbeaten in seven on their own turf.

Have Hai Phong Turned The Corner?

Ha Noi done a number on Sai Gon last week in the cup so the away side will be looking to bounce back. Both games mentioned so far will be over by the time this article is out in the public domain. Two home wins, methinks.

Tomorrow, we have two games that both kick-off at 11:00 (BST), let’s have a little look shall we? We’ll begin with Hai Phong vs Da Nang.

This doesn’t promise to be the greatest spectacle of all time as Hai Phong are yet to win at home and Da Nang haven’t won away, fantastic. Having only seen Hai Phong in the flesh out of the two, I’d say that they’ve turned a corner with their last two performances.

Firstly, they snatched a win away at Ho Chi Minh in the league courtesy of a late goal and then last time out, they should’ve beaten Sanna Khanh Hoa in the cup.

From what I’ve seen of Da Nang online, I think my initial assessment of calling them the ‘Vietnamese Watford’ was more than fair which means that they could quite easily pummel Hai Phong if they turn it on. They could also capitulate.  

Prediction: Hai Phong 3-1 Da Nang.

I’ll be taking in Becamex Binh Duong versus Quang Nam tomorrow and if recent years are anything to go by, this is a nailed on away win. Quang Nam sit a point above their hosts, yet they’re a million miles away from the form that saw them win the V-League last season.

Can Becamex Transfer Their Cup Performances To The League?

Quang Nam threw away a 2-1 lead in the cup last week at home to HAGL so they’ll be looking to make amends against a Becamex side who saw off V-League 2 side, Binh Dinh last week with ease.

They dominated for long periods of that game and looked very comfortable in doing so, however, Quang Nam will pose a completely different test and it will probably take a moment of brilliance to separate the sides.

Prediction: Becamex Binh Duong 1-2 Quang Nam.

We’ve got staggered kick-off times to look forward to on Sunday which begins at 11:00 BST with Can Tho against second-placed Than Quang Ninh. The away side can really turn the pressure up on league leaders Ha Noi as Than Quang Ninh can leapfrog them with a win against Can Tho.

Can Tho vs Than Quang Ninh Will Be Tight

On the road has resulted in a bit of mixed bag for Than Quang Ninh as they’ve won one, drawn one and lost one.

Yet to really hit any real consistency on their travels and the same can be said about Can Tho in the league. Four out of nine points for Can Tho who impressed me last week before they were reduced to ten men. An interesting match-up awaits.

Prediction: Can Tho 1-1 Than Quang Ninh.

Sunday’s 12:00 BST game sees Sanna Khanh Hoa entertain HAGL which to the naked eye looks like 3rd vs 8th and a home win. I, for one, beg to differ. HAGL have got something special going on and if they can get an early goal against Sanna Khanh Hoa I can see them holding on for all three points.

Apart from my gut, everything points to a home win as SKH have won the last eight meetings in the league when they were at home and when you chuck HAGL’s winless away record, it doesn’t look good.

In HAGL’s defence, they’re only winless on the road in the league as they got an excellent win away at Quang Nam last week in the cup.

Prediction: Sanna Khanh Hoa 1-2 HAGL.

Ho Chi Minh is the location of where it all culminates this weekend as Ho Chi Minh City face the daunting task of trying to stop Ha Noi. HCMC are having problems left, right & centre in defence at the moment and the last thing you want to do when that’s happening is face a rampant Ha Noi side.

Ha Noi put five past Sai Gon last week in the cup and frankly it could’ve been more.

Ha Noi Could Embarrass Ho Chi Minh 

One of the last things that HCMC needed was another distraction, nonetheless, that’s exactly what they got when their chairman resigned a couple of days ago. You can read about that here.

I fear for HCMC on Sunday. It could be an embarrassment of the highest possible proportions. I’m not saying it’ll be that bad that the league should fold. It might be though.

On the other hand, if Ha Noi are 7-0 up by half-time and then go on to hit double figures, at least it will give the league more exposure which is always a bonus!

Prediction: Ho Chi Minh City 1-5 Ha Noi.

There are a number of games taking place across the lower-leagues, some have already started and I’m not going to bother trying to play catch up. I will bring you up to speed when we revisit the V-League early next week.

Until the next time.