The last round of the V. League 1 was expected to be intense with few goals and most teams playing safe to protect their position on the table.
But it turned out that 21 goals were scored in seven games, and only the match between Saigon FC and Than Quang Ninh ended goalless.
The highlight of the round was arguably Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL)’s 5-1 thrashing of HCMC to enter the top eight.
The final round also brought the vibrant football atmosphere back to stadiums, as around 10,000 fans showed up at Thien Truong Stadium to watch Duoc Nam Ha Nam Dinh and SHB Da Nang play and 7,000 watched the game between HAGL and HCMC FC at Pleiku Stadium.
Brazilian attacking midfielder Geovane Magno of Saigon FC during the V. League match with Than Quang Ninh on October 1, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Dong Huyen.
The eight clubs who will compete for the title are Saigon FC (24 points), Viettel FC (22), Than Quang Ninh (21), Hanoi FC, HCMC FC, Binh Duong, and HAGL (all 20), and Hong Linh Ha Tinh (18).
They are now in group A.
Ha Tinh were the surprise qualifiers since they were only promoted to the V. League 1 in 2020.
They made it with an important 3-2 win over Quang Nam FC in their last match.
With few points separating the teams, the title race is expected to be thrilling and fun to watch, especially with there no longer being the fear of relegation.
The remaining six clubs, now in group B, will fight in a tough relegation battle, with one team set to go down to V. League 2.
With teams like SHB Da Nang, Song Lam Nghe An and Hai Phong FC in the mix, it promises to be intense.
The second leg will start on October 9 for group A and October 10 for group B.
The top four teams in the former will get to play more games at home (four games) than the remaining four (three games).
The V. League 1 resumed on September 26 after a two-month break starting in late July as the Covid-19 pandemic resurfaced.
The champion will get direct entry to the group stage of 2021 AFC Champions League.