Thai coach wins first title with V. League club

By Duc Dong   January 10, 2022 | 01:04 am PT
Thai coach wins first title with V. League club
Hoang Anh Gia Lai lift the Emperor Quang Trung title on January 9, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong
Kiatisuk Senamuang won his first title with Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) at the Emperor Quang Trung 2022 exhibition tournament Sunday.

After four days of the tournament, HAGL were in the lead with nine points and only needed one more point in the last game to secure the title. Without seven key players who are on national team duty, Kiatisuk fielded both young players and a few experienced ones. Their opponent Topenland Binh Dinh on the contrary needed to win 2-0 or more to lift the trophy. Therefore, they fielded their strongest lineup.

The two teams played openly in the first half but failed to convert their chances. In the second half, Binh Dinh increased their firepower with two substitutions but HAGL defense remained solid.

Kiatisuk noticed a chance for a counter-attack when Binh Dinh were eager for a goal, so he put striker Jefferson Baiano in to take advantage of his pace. In the 86th minute, Baiano cleanly scored the only goal of the game thanks to dynamic teamwork.

"I’m really happy. This is a gift for HAGL fans. We brought 11 young players to this tournament, some of them are only 17 but they performed well. Of course, this is just an exhibition tournament so there is little to say. The upcoming V. League season is the main event for the clubs," Kiatisuk said.

The Emperor Quang Trung 2022 consists of four teams: HAGL, Becamex Binh Duong, SHB Da Nang and the host Binh Dinh. HAGL claimed the title and Binh Duong finished second.

In the last V. League season, under Kiatisuk's management, HAGL played excellently. In the first 12 rounds, they led the table with 29 points and were considered a title contender. However, due to Covid-19, V. League was canceled and there were no champions or relegation for the last season.

V. League 2022 is set to return on Feb. 19 and conclude on Nov. 12.

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