Thanh Hoa have remained on top of the V-League 1, but have their work cut out for them as they defend their position tomorrow in a match against Dong Tam Long An in the 17th round match.
Arriving in Long An Province yesterday, Thanh Hoa had only one disadvantage, as their key striker, Le Thanh Binh, can not play. He suffered a broken leg on the field two days ago against Can Tho.
The national U23 member did not score in the past four games, but he created a number of chances that were converted to goals for his teammates Hoang Dinh Tung, Pape Omar Faye and Le Duc Tuan.
Binh will have to rest for two weeks, according to doctors.
The visiting team, however, will receive strong support from their fans as the Thanh Hoa FC’s fan club plans to send one thousand members to convert Long An Stadium into their home turf.
“Thanh Hoa are at peak at present. It is great for all of us. We will stay by their side to support them as strongly as possible,” said Luong Tu Ky, a Thanh Hoa fan living in HCM City.
Thanh Hoa has enjoyed a ten game winning streak, with four wins in row recently.
They also did not lose their last five away games.
Ahead of the match, Thanh Hoa received a large bonus of VND2 billion (US$95,000) for four wins from their sponsor, the FLC group, for their outstanding performance in the national premier league.
FLC has been in charge of the team for several months and has brought fresh air to the team.
Their new boss, Trinh Van Quyet, has asked his players to only focus on football, and he would take care of all financial concerns.
“We are lucky, as we receive much attention from the club’s management. It pushes my players to contribute the best to the team,” said coach Hoang Thanh Tung.
“Staying on top is not easy, as all of our rivals are strong. We have to focus on every match, and it is a long route to the finish,” he said.
Another match on Sunday is between hosts Hoang Anh Gia Lai and defending champions Becamex Binh Duong.
Hoang Anh Gia Lai needs points to avoid relegation, while Binh Duong has to claim their leading place from Thanh Hoa.
Former champions SHB Da Nang also seek a win to stop their hattrick of losses when they play last place Dong Nai tomorrow.
Can Tho will welcome Ha Noi T&T and hopes to grab a win, as they did last season, which is the only way to help them run away from the SOS area in the ranking.
Meanwhile, Dong Thap, another candidate for the relegation place, will entertain Hai Phong.
While Dong Thap are experts on their home turf, Hai Phong could win only once this season when they are far from home.
Song Lam Nghe An will not have its best players when facing Quang Ninh Coal.
Goalkeeper Tran Nguyen Manh has suffered a leg injury, while midfielder Ngo Hoang Thinh has a bruised thigh and may not be ready to play tomorrow.
In Nha Trang, Sanna Khanh Hoa, who lost to Binh Duong two days ago, will face Quang Nam. The hosts have had good results at home with seven wins and draws in nine matches, and Quang Nam has not won eight matches in a row as guests.