The capital team received the Quang Ninh guests without the service of the 2016 Vietnamese Golden Ball winner, midfielder Pham Thanh Luong, who has been suspended due to his red card in last season’s 25th round, and top striker Nguyen Van Quyet.
Despite that fact, Hanoi FC commenced their title defence campaign overwhelmingly as youngster Quang Hai gifted them an early advantage with a curler from 25 metres at the top corner after two minutes of play.
Nguyen Sa, former player of SHB Da Nang, equalised the score immediately thereafter, but only to see his efforts eclipsed by Hanoi newcomer A. Silva and Quang Hai, who added two more goals to the hosts’ tally in the 30th and 51st minutes, respectively.
With time running out, Quang Ninh Coal struggled to reverse the situation, but could only pull back a goal for an overall 2-3 defeat thanks to Quang Tan’s 64th-minute strike.
The victory was Hanoi’s revenge after losing the National Cup and Super Cup titles at the hands of Quang Ninh last season.
In other matches, FLC Thanh Hoa trounced Song Lam Nghe An by two straight goals to top the first-round table with the best goal difference, while SHB Da Nang made light work of Hoang Anh Gia Lai with a narrow 1-0 win.
Ho Chi Minh City and QNK Quang Nam played out a 1-1 tie—the only draw of the season’s opening round. Meanwhile, Can Tho conceded a home-field 1-0 defeat to Dong Tam Long An.
Most notably, 2016 runners-up Hai Phong and 2015 V-League champions Becamex Binh Duong suffered surprise 0-1 losses to Saigon FC and Sanna Khanh Hoa BVN on home soil, respectively.
Hanoi and Quang Ninh players fight for the ball during their clash last weekend. (Photo: NHAN DAN/Tran Hai)