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Sài Gòn win their first ever futsal championship




Sài Gòn FC players and coaches celebrate their National Cup futsal victory. Sài Gòn beat reigning champion Thái Sơn Nam 6-4 in the final on Monday in HCM City. Photo courtesy of VFF

HCM CITY — Sài Gòn FC were crowned National Futsal Cup champions after defeating Thái Sơn Nam 6-4 on Tuesday in HCM City.

Thái Sơn Nam were favourites going into the match but the defending champions couldn’t do enough to keep Sài Gon out. 

Thái Sơn Nam did get on the scoresheet first, though at the wrong end. Nguyễn Mạnh Dũng found the back of his own net in the first minute of the match.

Thái Sơn Nam’s defence suffered two more goals; Phạm Trương Hoàng Nam in the fourth minute and Đỗ Viết Hoà Hiệp the fifth minute. 

Thái Sơn Nam clawed a goal back in the eighth and Sài Gòn’s Trần Tuyên turned the ball into his own net to make the score 3-2.

However, the comeback was over before it began with Nguyễn Trần Duy and Tuyên scoring before the end of the first half.

Duy got another minute into the second half to make it 6-2 for Sài Gòn. 

Trí and Nguyễn Anh Duy kept the score respectable, finding the back of the net in the 25th and 36th minutes.

It was a remarkable result for Sài Gon, who lost 5-0 to Thái Sơn Nam in the group round. It is the side’s first final. 

The defeat tops off a torrid few weeks for Thái Sơn Nam, who lost their national championship title recently too.

In the third-place play-off, Thái Sơn Bắc beat Sanvinest Khánh Hòa 3-2 to take the bronze.

Phan Khắc Chí of Sanvinest Khánh Hòa was the best scorer with six goals. Trần Tuyên and Vũ Văn Khá of Sài Gòn were MVP and best goalkeeper. — VNS




Việt Nam to compete in first international baseball tournament since establishment of federation




Baseball players take part in a selection round. Coaches will pick the best 18 for the national team participating in the DGB Cup in Laos next month. Photo

HÀ NỘI – Việt Nam will participate in the DGB Cup, an international baseball tournament from February 21-26 in Laos. 

This is the team’s first international tournament since the Việt Nam Baseball and Softball Federation was established in April 2021.

The coaching board and South Korean expert Park Hyo Chul will select 18 athletes from 41 candidates who performed well at the National Baseball Clubs Cup in July 2022 in HCM City.

The cup was the first official tournament in the national competition system and featured nearly 170 athletes from eight clubs. In the final, Sài Gòn Storm beat Hanoi Archers A 12-4 to lift the trophy.

The two sides contributed 16 players to the draft list for the national team.

These 41 players will participate in another round of trials before the coaches whittle the number down to the 18 selected to play in the cup. The athletes will then have several weeks to prepare for the Lao event.

In the past, the Việt Nam national baseball team took part in the 26th SEA Games in Indonesia.

Furthermore, U12, U13, and U16 squads with athletes from HCM City and Hà Nội clubs also participated in international tournaments where they achieved strong results. VNS


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Linh makes history as first Vietnamese AFF Cup top scorer




Nguyễn Tiến Linh was the joint top scorer at the 2022 AFF Cup. He is also a candidate for the national Golden Ball award. VNA/VNS Photo 

HÀ NỘI — Nguyễn Tiến Linh might not have brought the AFF Cup home, but he did make history as the tournament’s first Vietnamese top scorer with six goals.

Linh finished the tournament level on goals with Thailand’s Teerasil Dangda, with whom he shares the Top Goal Scorer award.

In the group stage, Linh scored three goals in matches against Laos, Malaysia, and Myanmar.

In the last-four round, he netted two more in the semi-final second leg against Indonesia.

In the final first leg against Thailand, he opened the scoring for the Golden Star Warriors, his sixth goal in the tournament. However, he failed to convert several opportunities in the second leg.

Four of his goals were headers, leading to Linh being dubbed the ‘king of aerial duels’ at the regional championship.

On January 16, Việt Nam lost the final 3-2 on aggregate to Thailand.

It was Linh’s third AFF Cup. In 2018, he scored once. In the 2020 edition, he got a brace.

Since their first AFF Cup appearance in 1996, Việt Nam have won the trophy twice, and three of their players were voted Most Valuable Player of the tournament, but Linh is the first to finish as top scorer. 

In the 2002 edition, Lê Huỳnh Đức also finished the tournament with six goals, but the title went to Indonesian Bambang Pamungkas with eight.

Nguyễn Tiến Linh shares the Top Scorer award with Thailand’s Teerasil Dangda. VNS Photo Nguyễn Khánh

Linh is currently one of the three best Vietnamese strikers on the national team. In his 38 caps, Linh has netted 19 times, an average of one goal every two matches.

He is still far behind top-placed Lê Công Vinh (51 goals) and second-positioned Đức (27 goals) in Việt Nam’s all-time scoring leaderboard, but the 26-year-old will have many opportunities to narrow the gap in the future. 

First Golden Ball award

Linh’s outstanding performances and AFF Cup achievements have made him a favourite to win the Golden Ball award, honouring the best footballer of 2022, which will be announced in the middle of February.

As well as his international success, Linh was also the second-highest scorer in the 2022 V.League. The Becamex Bình Dương striker finished the season with nine goals.

His biggest rivals in the race to win the statue are striker Phạm Tuấn Hải and midfielder Nguyễn Văn Quyết, both of champion Hà Nội FC.

Hải finished the season with a tally of ten goals, while Quyết was the best V.League player as voted by the organising board. However, neither of them has done as well on the international stage. 

In 2021, Linh won the Bronze Ball, behind Nguyễn Hoàng Đức of Viettel FC and Nguyễn Quang Hải of Hà Nội FC.

“At this point, Linh has his biggest chance to bring home the Golden Ball. His contribution to the national team is impressive, and he also shone with the U23s squad, winning the 31st SEA Games gold medal,” said pundit Ngô Quang Tùng. VNS


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Hà Nội Police have high hopes for V.League 1 debut




Coach Paulo Foiani (2nd right) instructs Hà Nội Police FC players during a friendly tournament that ended on January 16 in the capital. The Brazilian hopes to lead his club to a top-three finish in the 2023 V.League 1. Photo of Hà Nội Police FC

HÀ NỘI — V.League 1 new boys Hà Nội Police FC have attracted a number of quality players including national team members with high hopes for their debut season.

The tournament will begin on February 3 and will end after five and a half months, the shortest event in history. It made the switch to synchronise with the FIFA’s and AFC’s competition systems.

Hà Nội Police, formerly  People’s Public Security FC, advanced to the national premier league after winning the V.League 2 title last October.

In their name-changing ceremony earlier this month, the international coaching team and new faces were introduced. Despite playing in the First Division for the very first time, they are aiming for a top-three finish.

Brazilian Paulo Foiani has signed as head coach. Before coming to Việt Nam, he took charge of 21 clubs in his home country. Among them were Sociedade Esportiva Juazeirense who finished second at the 2015 Copa Governador Da Bahia; Sinop Futebol and Sportivo who grabbed slots in the 2019 and 2021 Copa Do Brazil, respectively.

In his playing time, the midfielder was captain of Coritiba FC from 1997 to 2001.

“I want to build up a beautiful playing style, the Brazilian style, at Hà Nội Police. This is a club with determined and energic players that will hunt victories,” said Foniani, 46.

“I am excited about the new job and will try my best to glue players together into a strong and united team to achieve good results this season.”

Foiani will be assisted by Flavio Cruz. The Brazilian has been working in Việt Nam for seven years as both a player and coach with Huda Huế, Bình Định, Gia Định and Navibank Sài Gòn in both V.League 1 and V.League 2.

“I believe that Vietnamese football has made impressive progress with good preparation,” he said.

“Our football training centre at the PFV campus provides high-quality facility and training conditions. I think that Hà Nội Police’s young and determined players with good technique and tactical mind will help the team become a competitive opposition in the league and we will go far.”

The club has signed a two-year contract with defender Hồ Tấn Tài who was part of the national team that reached the final of the AFF Cup.

Hà Nội Police FC have announced their latest deal, a contract with national defender Hồ Tấn Tài, on their Facebook fanpage. — Photo of VFF

Tài signed a five-year deal with Bình Định FC early last year after almost two years playing for his hometown club. He was a key player to help the team finish third in the 2022 season. But recently, the club faced a financial crisis of VNĐ38.5 billion of debt including players’ salaries and bonuses. This is thought to be the reason that Tài’s left.

“I will try to compete, give my best, and help my team finish high in the V.League so that we will not disappoint our fans, coaches and owners,” he said.

Despite being a defender, Tài scored five goals in the 2022 V.League 1, two for the national team at the 2022 World Cup qualifications and one at the AFF Cup.

The club has also introduced national team defenders Vũ Văn Thanh and Đoàn Văn Hậu, midfielder Phan Văn Đức, and former U23 goalkeeper Bùi Tiến Dũng.

Former Becamex Bình Dương captain Tô Văn Vũ and striker Nguyễn Xuân Nam, also arrived in early January.

Duo Bùi Tiến Dụng and Sầm Ngọc Đức are also among the 10 new faces. They are expected to strengthen the team’s defence.

At the same time, they will guide young teammates who are home-grown players of the team in the tough V.League 1.

Hà Nội Police FC players train for the 2023 season. — Photo of Hà Nội Police FC

In the first-round match, Hà Nội Police will host Bình Định at the Hàng Đẫy Stadium.

Following the tournament format, 14 teams will play in round robin in the first period. In the second, the top six teams will vie for the championship trophy while the rest will fight to avoid relegation. VNS




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