Xin chào! Some of you may well be expecting a league preview of sorts, what with the feature image and all. You are going to be disappointed as the picture us somewhat misleading due to the fact that we don’t have a Vietnamese Cup preview as of yet. Such is the way the world works. So, we have got the last-sixteen of the Vietnamese Cup for you and I want to get my feelings out in the open early doors; what’s the fucking point?
Bear with me. The winners of the cup qualify for the AFC Cup, providing they meet a certain criteria, but what we have found this year is that the Vietnamese teams don’t particularly care about the AFC Cup.
SLNA Let Vietnam Down In The AFC Cup
Yes, that may sound harsh, however, all you have to do is watch Song Lam Nghe An’s (SLNA) performance away at Johor Darul Ta’zim and you’ll see they can’t be arsed. If they had got some sort of a result in Malaysia, they would’ve had more of a chance of a progressing. Shite.
Anyway, let’s hope whoever makes it next year, they put in a bit more effort next season as FLC Thanh Hoa bowed out in the group stages as well. Let’s go through the games in time order to see what’s going on this weekend.
Before we do that, I just want to let you know that there’s no extra time or replays with these games, they’re decided on the day with a penalty shootout after ninety minutes if the two sides are level.
Binh Phuoc vs Nam Dinh | 28th of April | 10:30am (UK Time – All times will be displayed in UK Time)
V-League 2 side, Binh Phuoc, host newly-promoted V-League side Nam Dinh as the Vietnamese Cup kicks off with a game that both sides will undoubtedly use to take their mind off their shoddy league form.
While the bookies have got Nam Dinh as odds-on favourites, I’m not so sure as Binh Phuoc’s league position isn’t an accurate portrait of their talent as there has only been two games played so far. Interestingly, the head-to-head record between the two sides reads a result apiece last season as both games were decided by the odd goal.
Prediction: Binh Phuoc 1-1 Nam Dinh (Binh Phuoc win on penalties).
Becamex Binh Duong vs Binh Dinh | 28th of April | 11:00am
I’ll be at this game and I’m hoping Becamex can recreate some of the form which saw them make the final last season. Becamex could do with a win as their league campaign isn’t going that well, although it is still early doors. Last time out, they got a useful point away at SLNA so at least they’ve got something to build on.
Binh Dinh, on the other hand, are somewhat of an unknown quantity as they got promoted to V-League 2 last season and have only had two games in the Vietnamese second-tier thus far.
Prediction: Becamex Binh Duong 3-1 Binh Dinh.
Sanna Khanh Hoa vs Hai Phong | 28th of April | 11:00am
I’ve watched both of these sides this season and Sanna Khanh Hoa sit third in the league while Hai Phong languish in tenth.
If I’m honest, I thought it would be the other way around because Sanna Khanh Hoa didn’t impress me at all at the beginning of April whereas Hai Phong were brilliant last time out as they played Ho Chi Minh perfectly and came away with a 1-0 win.
Sanna Khanh Hoa got a credible point away at Quang Nam which kept them three points behind league-leaders Ha Noi.
Prediction: Sanna Khanh Hoa 1-2 Hai Phong.
Quang Nam vs Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) | 28th of April | 11:00am
We’ve just touched on how Quang Nam’s game against Sanna Khanh Hoa went down so we’ve no need to touch on that again. Defending V-League champions Quang Nam have not had the best of starts to the league as they sit bang halfway and there is already a six-point gap between them and table-topping Ha Noi. It’ll be intriguing to see how they prioritise this.
HAGL, despite losing in the game I watched them in, are by far and away the best side I’ve seen so far this campaign.
There’s a swagger about how they move the ball around that convinces me that they are much better than their league position of 8th suggests. Their win last time out against Da Nang showed all of their qualities and then some and I expect them to carry on their good form against a stuttering Quang Nam.
Prediction: Quang Nam 0-1 HAGL.
Ha Noi vs Sai Gon | 28th of April | 12:00pm
This game is a repeat of last weekend which saw Sai Gon gain a valuable point in Ha Noi. Top of the table Ha Noi should blow Sai Gon away in this game, saying that, they were very nearly embarrassed in the last round as they had to progress on penalties after only managing a draw against V-League 2 in normal time.
That sums up the general feeling around the early stages of this competition which as I mentioned earlier, I don’t get at all because it could be a pathway to greatness. It could happen!
Prediction: Ha Noi 4-2 Sai Gon.
FLC Thanh Hoa vs Long An | 29th of April | 11:00am
Banker of the round. This is a nailed on home win if ever I’ve seen one. Long An are the worst side I’ve seen so far during my spell in Vietnam and they haven’t won a competitive game since September last year.
I’m not counting their penalty win against Cong An Nhan Dan in the last round because let’s be honest, it was a draw. So, when Long An send shockwaves through South East Asia, I will wholeheartedly apologise.
Thanh Hoa are another side, much like Quang Nam, who are underachieving in comparison to last season as they sit sixth in the table. They’ll be disappointed not to have beaten Can Tho last weekend and I fear for Long An, I really do.
Prediction: FLC Thanh Hoa 5-0 Long An.
SHB Da Nang vs Can Tho | 29th of April | 11:00am
Da Nang were the side that got took apart last week against HAGL as they offered little anywhere on the pitch. In fact, they haven’t offered much at all this season so far, bearing that in mind, I wouldn’t surprise me if they go for a morale-boosting win against Can Tho, nevertheless, that’s easier said than done.
Can Tho showed a resilience last week against Thanh Hoa that wasn’t present last year and they’re well positioned in the league to do some damage this season. Will they challenge on both fronts? I think so.
Prediction: SHB Da Nang 2-2 Can Tho (Can Tho win on penalties).
SLNA vs Ho Chi Minh City | 29th of April | 11:00am
Hmmm. This is a tricky one to call. Arguably the hardest of the lot. Number one, it’s impossible to second guess what team will take to the pitch for Ho Chi Minh and there’s a big difference between their first and second string.
If HCM play to the best of their ability, they’ll beat SLNA on current form because their performance midweek in Malaysia was quite simply, a disgrace with the exception of a five-minute spell at the end of the first-half.
Surely SLNA will want to defend their title? I wish I knew.
Prediction: SLNA 0-1 Ho Chi Minh City.
There we are sports fans! I’ll bring you up to speed on Monday with what’s happened and we’ll have a mooch at the last-eight and see who can possibly win it.
I’m going to stick my neck out and back HAGL to win it purely based on the fact that they’re the best I’ve seen so far this season. My get out of jail free card is that I haven’t watched Ha Noi yet, so if they do, that’s why!
Until the next time.