Before the match with Khanh Hoa Club at 5pm on Pleiku Stadium on the afternoon of July 15 in the opening round of phase 2 of V-League 2023, HAGL’s spirit was questioned after the defeat against PVF – CAND team in the quarterfinals of the 2023 National Cup. HAGL also did not play well from the beginning of the tournament with only 2 wins after 13 matches. In the opposite direction, Khanh Hoa Club, although also in the relegation race group, is an opponent that is not easily defeated.
Khanh Hoa away team advocates defensive kick against HAGL. Coach Vo Dinh Tan’s students retreated low to form a two-tier defense, playing fiercely in the midfield. With Minh Vuong, Tuan Anh and Ngoc Quang in the middle of the field, HAGL controlled the ball better than the opponent, but the attack was deadlocked when Paollo Oliveira and Washington Brandao were lost.
It was Khanh Hoa Club who had the first chance, even though they did not attack much. In the 16th minute, Van Tung came down to head the ball and sent the ball away from HAGL’s goal, when goalkeeper Tuan Linh could no longer control the situation. At the end of the first half, HAGL had the answer, but Vuong’s ball correction could not overcome the majority defense of Khanh Hoa team.
In the second half, HAGL still attacked heavily, while Khanh Hoa Club defended discipline. The reasonable range of the squad helps the visitors to separate the attacks of the host HAGL very well. Except for the self-finding phases of Brandao or Paollo, HAGL has almost no chance. However, the burst of joy came to the mountain town team in the 90+5 minute. Receiving Dinh Lam’s cross, Paollo hit a brave shot, helping the Pleiku team get 3 valuable points.
Thus, HAGL has 17 points after 14 matches. With 9 points more than the bottom team in Ho Chi Minh City in the context of the season with only 4 rounds, HAGL is also near the threshold of staying in the V-League.