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ASEAN Domestic Wrap: Buriram end Port hopes; Svay Rieng seal title

Kuala Lumpur: The league title will go down to the wire in Thailand but Buriram United’s win over Port FC ensured it will be a two-horse race, while Svay Rieng have been crowned Cambodian champions with two games to spare.

Elsewhere, Indonesia league leaders Bali United suffered a heavy defeat to Borneo and Philippines champions Ceres Negros ended their campaign unbeaten.

Although the majority of leagues across ASEAN are reaching their climax or have already finished, meanwhile, Australia’s A-League is in its early stages and it's the Sydney clubs that lead the way.

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Thailand: Buriram edge closer to glory

Buriram United will be crowned champions of Thailand for the eighth time if they can win away at relegated Chiangmai FC next week after coming from behind to defeat third-placed Port FC 3-1 on Sunday.

Port would have gone above Buriram with a win but defeat ends their dream of a first Thai League 1 title, but Chiangrai United’s 4-1 win over Prachuap means the race will go down to the final day as just two points separate the top two.

Elsewhere, third-from-bottom Sukhothai FC’s 2-1 win over Trat FC means their fate will be decided next week but also ended Chiangmai and Chainat Hornbill’s chances of survival despite the former’s 3-2 win away at PTT Rayong.

Chiangrai travel to Suphanburi for their final game next week and, given their better head-to-head record against the league leaders, would seal a first top-tier title if they claim three points and Buriram fail to win in Chiangmai. 

Cambodia: Svay Rieng claim second title

Unbeaten C-League leaders Svay Rieng wrapped up their second Cambodian league title after a 4-2 win over National Defense Ministry left them eight points clear of second-placed Visakha with two games remaining.

Svay Rieng had played out a scoreless draw against Visakha last Monday to all but secure the title as the club from southeast Cambodia maintained their unbeaten run to move closer to adding to the championship won back in 2013.

Visakha and third-placed Naga World will now battle it out for the runners-up position, while Svay Rieng will aim to complete an undefeated season in the coming weeks with games to come against Asia Euro United and Naga World.

Indonesia: Bali humbled by Borneo

Borneo FC produced arguably the biggest shock in ASEAN at the weekend as they moved into third place in Indonesia’s Liga 1 following a stunning 6-0 win over runaway leaders Bali United, although they remain 11 points adrift having played a game more.

Second-placed Madura United won 2-1 away at relegation threatened Semen Padang to move within seven points of Bali, but they have played two games more, while TIRA-Persikabo dropped to fourth after losing 2-0 at home to Bhayangkara.

Defending champions Persija Jakarta, meanwhile, secured a potentially crucial three points by defeating PSM Makassar 1-0, but they remain just a point above the drop zone. Barito Putera’s 4-1 win over Badak Lampung also saw them climb out of the bottom three. 

Philippines: Ceres complete unbeaten season

Ceres Negros finished their 2019 campaign in style as a 3-0 victory over second-placed Kaya FC-Iloilo meant they ended the season with their undefeated record intact.

The side from Bacolod City wrapped up their third successive title last week but were determined to finish the season without losing a game, and the win means their record now reads: played 24, won 22, drawn two, lost none.

Kaya finished 12 points adrift in the runners-up position while former Philippines champions Global Cebu FC ended a disappointing season in last place having picked up just a solitary win. 

Australia: Sydney sides set the pace

Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers continued their perfect starts to the season in Australia after the former defeated bottom side Wellington Phoenix 2-1 and the latter overcame Melbourne Victory by the same scoreline.

Melbourne City moved up to third after beating Adelaide United 2-1, while newcomers Western United drew 1-1 with last season’s Premiers, Perth Glory, in their first-ever A-League home game to make it an impressive four points from six.

The only other match of the weekend saw Central Coast Mariners draw 1-1 against Newcastle Jets, who were playing their first game of the season after sitting out last week. 

Malaysia: Close contests as Malaysia Cup semi-finals get underway

Johor Darul Ta’zim will take a 2-1 lead into the second leg of the 2019 Malaysia Cup semi-final against Selangor FA after Syafiq Ahmad and Leandro Velazquez scored in a 2-1 home victory on Saturday.

Zaquan Adha netted deep into stoppage time of the other semi-final as Kedah FA secured a 3-3 draw against Pahang, having earlier been two goals down, to leave the second leg on a knife edge.

The return meetings of the last-four fixtures will take place on Saturday.

Vietnam: Relegation battle goes to the final day

While Hanoi FC wrapped up the V.League 1 title several weeks ago, the bottom two sides go into the final game of their seasons on Wednesday level on points.

Bottom team Sanna Khanh Hoa drew 0-0 with Sai Gon to move onto 25 points alongside FLC Thanh Hoa, who lost 3-1 at home to Viettel.

With the side finishing in last place relegated to V.League 2 and second-from-bottom team facing a relegation play-off, their seasons will come to thrilling climaxes this week as Sanna Khanh Hoa travel to Hoang Anh Gia Lai and Thanh Hoa are away at Becamex Binh Duong.

At the other end of the table, Hanoi drew 2-2 with Quang Nam and second-placed Ho Chi Minh City FC lost 2-1 against Hoang Anh Gia Lai.

Singapore: Singapore Cup takes centre stage

Finally, the second round of fixtures in the Singapore Cup also took place over the weekend, with DPMM moving to the top of Group B following a 1-0 win over Hougang United and Albirex Niigata Singapore rising to second after seeing off Geylang International 2-0.

In Group A, Warriors FC are top after drawing 2-2 against bottom side Home United, while Tampines Rovers defeated Balestier Khalsa 2-0 to leave the pair level on three points apiece.


Photo: Buriram United

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