Nguyen Quang Hai of Hanoi FC celebrates after scoring the decisive goal in the National Cup final against Viettel FC in Hang Day Stadium, Hanoi, on September 20, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.
Hanoi FC clinched their second consecutive National Cup title in an intense final against Viettel FC on Sunday.
Numerous chances were created by Hanoi within the first 15 minutes, with star midfielder Nguyen Quang Hai being at the center of many of them.
He first put a through ball to Nguyen Van Quyet, but the forward kicked it high. Then he dribbled past national team captain Que Ngoc Hai, but was unable to beat Viettel FC keeper Nguyen Manh.
With some key players missing from their starting lineup, Viettel began the game cautiously. They played with a lone striker with the rest packing the defense to keep Hanoi’s strong attack at bay.
But after the first 20 minutes Viettel began to push the Hanoi players back and create chances of their own. They took three shots at goal to threaten Hanoi, a long-range effort, one that hit the bar and a volley from inside the box.
In the second half Viettel began to press forward even more, but this left their defense vulnerable and soon three defenders received yellow cards for tactical fouls.
Hanoi continued to attack despite slowing down somewhat from the frenetic pace of the first half and searched for the opener from set pieces.
The Viettel coach, realizing the space in front of Hanoi’s defense since they only had one player in charge of that area, got his players to play increasingly down the flanks.
During one such foray, Nguyen Hoang Duc passed to Tran Ngoc Son and the striker got an easy tap-in to open the scoring for Viettel in the 75th minute.
Hanoi found the equalizer in the 81st minute when substitute midfielder Truong Van Thai Quy received a pass from Nguyen Thanh Chung’s head and scored with a powerful shot.
A revitalized Hanoi then got a second goal seven minutes later.
Quy passed to Hai, who hammered it home on the bounce, making it 2-1.
Hanoi FC with their second consecutive National Cup, September 20, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh.
In the remaining time, including five minutes of added time, Viettel could not find an equalizer and the National Cup stayed in Hanoi.
With the win, Hanoi FC became the first team to successfully defend the cup title in 16 years.