Hanoi B, now called Ha Tinh, will meet Nam Dinh in the V.League 2018 play-off at Vinh Stadium on October 13 for a ticket to play in Vietnam’s top division next year.
Nam Dinh are in the play-off after a 1-1 draw with fellow top-flight relegation candidates Can Tho. Head coach Nguyen Van Sy announced that the People’s Committee of Nam Dinh Province pledged to give the club US$856,620 should the team stay in the first division.
Experts expressed surprise that Hanoi B made it to the play-off. At the start of the season, Cong An Nhan Dan (CAND) and Binh Dinh were favourites to be in V.League 1 in 2019.
Hanoi B head coach Pham Minh Duc admitted his target at the start of the season was to stay in V.League 2 at all costs. “Most of our players are young,” he said. “Our goal was to remain in the League.”
Hanoi B struggled early in the season, earning just three points in its first four matches – a stretch that included a 0-3 home loss to Hue. But the group managed to turn around its season, eventually finishing in the top three.
“The board of directors told me to keep the team in the top three,” Duc said. “During that time, we had an eight-match winning streak. In the play-off, we must stay focused and try our best. If we play well and have a bit of luck, we will win.”
“Hanoi B has embraced its young identity,” he said. “I watched the match between Can Tho and Nam Dinh and I feel we are well prepared.”
Only 16 Hanoi B players will play for the newly renamed Ha Tinh in the fixture. If the match is tied after 90 minutes it will go to penalty kicks to decide a winner.