• Saigon XT win first National Cup, qualify for AFC Cup
    22:47 | 27/10/2012

    HCMC –Saigon Xuan Thanh won their first ever National Cup after trouncing V-League runners-up Hanoi T&T 4-1 and qualifying for the AFC Cup for the first time at HCMC’s Thong Nhat Stadium on Wednesday.


    Saigon Xuan Thanh players celebrate after receiving the National Cup trophy at Thong Nhat Stadium in HCMC on Wednesday.

    The scoreline was no surprise but the Saigon players, fans and officials will be wishing they could have had this very same result ten days ago when they drew a blank at home to Hanoi on the league’s final day, gifting the title to Danang who join them in the AFC Cup as V-League champions.

    Saigon, who finished third in the V-League table and had home advantage, knew this was a great chance to make up for their league heartbreak and avoid ending the season empty-handed.

    Hanoi started the game without goalkeeper Duong Hong Son, who failed to recover from injury in time to take his starting berth. Pham Ngoc Tu replaced Son and midfielder Bui Van Hieu came in for Vo Duy Nam.

    Brazilian striker Antonio Carlos, Ugandan midfielder Moses Oloya, Cameroonian forward Christian Nsi Amougou and naturalized foreign players Huynh Kesley Avels, Nguyen Rogerio and Dang Van Robert, however, played from the start for the favorites Saigon.

    The home side dominated possession and striker Huynh Kesley Alves made the breakthrough after just ten minutes with a fantastic 30 yard free kick.

    Antonio Carlos doubled the lead in the 35th minute from Huynh Kesley Alves’ cross. Hanoi had Nguyen Ngoc Duy’s effort ruled out by referee Vo Quang Vinh for handball.

    The home side continued to press heavily with their forwards wreaking havoc on the visiting side’s backline but Argentine striker Gonzalo Marronkle surprisingly pulled one back in the 52nd minute.

    The visitors faced more difficulties when defender Nguyen Hong Tien was sent off with a second yellow card in the 74th minute. Defender Le Hai Anh netted for Saigon to make it 3-1 in the 76th minute.

    Hanoi’s midfielder Nguyen Ngoc Duy also was sent off for his second booking as time was running out and Nguyen Rogerio grabbed his goal in injury time to rub it in.

    Saigon lifted the trophy in front of their 5,000 noisy supporters and also pocketed VND350 million. Hanoi T&T netted VND200 million. Losing semi-finalists Song Lam Nghe An and SHB Danang received VND100 million each. The victory also meant the cup stayed in the city after Navibank Saigon’s win last season.

    The National Cup attracted 25 teams from the V-League and the First Division, competing in a knock-out format.

    The final marked the end of Vietnam’s 2011-2012 football season. The new season will begin in December with the Super Cup match between V-League champions SHB Danang and National Cup winners Saigon XT.

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