The 2018 V.League 1 wrapped up on October 8 with seven matches at stadiums nationwide, ending with XSKT Can Tho relegated to the V.League 2.
Though Hanoi FC had long-since secured the title, there was plenty to play for, with bottom-placed Can Tho hosting second from bottom Nam Dinh FC, with a win for either side condemning the other to relegation. Elsewhere, Sanna Khanh Hoa faced FLC Thanh Hoa to determine second place.
On home soil, despite scoring the opening goal, XSKT Can Tho could only muster a 1-1 draw against Nam Dinh, leaving the Mekong Delta side contemplating life in the second tier. Meanwhile, Nam Dinh face a place in the relegation playoff with the 2018 First Division runners-up, Hanoi B.
The relegation six-pointer began well for the home side, with Can Tho’s forward Wander Luiz scoring the opener with his head from midfielder Phuong Tam’s free kick in the 5th minute.
Seemingly unsure whether to press on for more goals or to defend their lead, Can Tho were pegged back by the visitors in the 28th minute, with Nam Dinh midfielder Huu Quy scoring inside the penalty area. The first half ended 1-1.
In the second half, coach Vu Quang Bao of Can Tho threw on midfielders Ut Cuong and Thanh Long in search of the winner. Meanwhile, the visitors slowed the game down, seemingly content with the draw.
In the 76th minute, Ut Cuong’s dangerous free-kick was saved by experienced goalkeeper Thien Esele of Nam Dinh, which was the closest Can Tho came to a winner.
Towards the end of the match, the visitors chose to slow the game down further and were rewarded with a 1-1 draw and a stay of execution.
With the draw, Can Tho finished with 21 points after 26 matches, three points below Nam Dinh, and exited the top division.
At the Thanh Hoa Stadium, FLC Thanh Hoa acquired a narrow win 1-0 against Sanna Khanh Hoa, enough for them to finish second, three points ahead of the visitors on 46 points.
Elsewhere, Becamex Binh Duong defeated Hoang Anh Gia Lai 3-1, SHB Da Nang defeated Than Quang Ninh 3-2 while the matches between Sai Gon and QNK Quang Nam, Song Lam Nghe An and Ho Chi Minh City, and Hai Phong and Hanoi ended 4-1, 1-0 and 1-0 respectively.
Hanoi FC won the title with 54 points.