After a long postponement due to the COVID-19 pandemic, top-flight league football in Viet Nam returned yesterday.

Hai Phong vs HCM City in the V.League 1’s resumption yesterday. The two sides tied goalless. — Photo

At Lạch Tray Stadium, hosts Hai Phong played out a goalless draw with HCM City FC.

Việt Nam national team coach Park Hang-seo was in the stands for the resumption of domestic league play.

The visitors had to do without national team star striker Nguyễn Công Phượng who skipped the match due to his engagement party, but South Korean coach Chung Hae-seong was still confident coming into the fixture.

However, with the support of their fans at home, Hải Phòng had the best of the early exchanges.

Just two minutes in, striker Claudecir Junior of the hosts was close to the goal, but could not produce a finish due to defensive pressure.

Five minutes later, Hải Phòng won a free kick on the right side which Phạm Mạnh Hùng whipped in dangerously, but goalkeeper Nguyễn Thanh Thắng gathered comfortably.

Hải Phòng continued to make chances but they couldn’t convert.

In the 21st minute, goalie Thắng let the ball fall through his hands and fall to Junior, but fortunately for the visitors, the Brazilian handled it.

The best chance of the half fell to HCM City in the 30th minute, but stocky midfielder Trần Phi Sơn managed to miss an absolute sitter.

Forward Amido Balde muscled his way into the Hai Phong box for a shot which goalkeeper Nguyễn Văn Toản saved. The rebound fell to the unmarked Sơn, but with the goal at his mercy, he conspired to screw the ball wide.

The first half closed with no goals, despite the sterling efforts of both sides.

Shortly into the second half, Junior tried an audacious overhead kick, but the shot had no power and caused goalkeeper Thắng no problems.

Things got scrappy after that, with a yellow for Balde in the 52nd minute and another for Hai Phong’s Nguyễn Văn Hạnh shortly after.

In the 56th minute, from a corner on the right, Pape Diakite of HCM City rose well but headed his shot wide.

City super-sub Nguyen Xuân Nam had a glorious chance from a Son corner in the 66th minute, but he headed inches wide despite being unmarked.

The game petered out after that point, with neither side creating many threatening chances.

The draw left the two sides briefly atop the table before the rest of the weekend’s fixtures, with City leading on seven points and Hai Phong close behind on five. — VNS