Domestic Leagues

ASEAN Wrap: Football in Myanmar returns

Kuala Lumpur: After a COVID-19 enforced hiatus of five months, the Myanmar National League finally resumed over the weekend with big wins for some of the leading sides.

Elsewhere, the semi-finals of the A-League's Final Series are set after wins for Western United and Perth Glory, there were mixed results for the Thai stars in Japan, drama in Cambodia and action in Laos.

So join as we review the best of ASEAN football from the weekend.

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Myanmar: Goals galore as Myanmar National League returns

For the first time since March 23, there was domestic action in Myanmar and the teams certainly made up for their absence with some goal-filled encounters.

Most eye-catching was the battle between Ayeyawady United and Rakhine United, with the former having the chance to move into second place behind front-runners Hantharwady United.

And the Pathein-based side accordingly did so, in eye-catching fashion, with a comprehensive 4-0 win that saw them leapfrog defending champions Yangon United, who themselves put six past Magwe in a 6-0 drubbing.

There were also wins for two other heavyweights of the Myanmar National League as Yadnarbon put four past ISPE FC, while 2020 AFC Cup participants Shan United edged out Southern Myanmar 1-0 as they moved up to fourth spot.

Australia: Semi-final showdowns set

And then there were four. Western United, Melbourne City, Perth Glory and Sydney FC will play out the A-League Final Series semi-finals after United and Glory secured wins in the Elimination Final openers.

Both were tightly fought affairs as Joel Chianese's 18th-minute strike proved enough for the Western Australians to edge out Wellington Phoenix on Saturday, while a day later Alessandro Diamanti's sensational free-kick earned the Green and Black a 1-0 win against Brisbane Roar in the competition debutants' first ever Final Series match.

The results provide two intriguing clashes in the final four. United will face second-seeds City in a Victorian Derby, while Glory have a chance for redemption against defending champions Sydney FC, the team who defeated them in last year's Grand Final.

Japan: Mixed results for Thai stars

After a frustrating weekend last time out, the most recent match week was a qualified improvement for Thailand's Japan-based stars.

Theerathon Bunmathan would have been the happiest of the trio after he once again played the full 90 minutes in Yokohama F. Marinos' 3-1 win over Sanfrecce Hiroshima and also got a vital assist for Junior Santos' important go-ahead goal.

While Chanathip Songkrasin sat out the weekend's ties due to Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo's match postponement, Teerasil Dangda came off the bench for Shimizu S-Pulse, although he was unable to prevent a 3-2 loss to Yokohama FC.

Cambodia: Svay Rieng unbeaten run ends at 11 as Boeung Ket go top

All things must come to an end, as Cambodia's defending champions Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng saw both their 11-game unbeaten run and their eight-match winning streak ended on Sunday by Boeung Ket in a stunning 4-2 defeat for the holders.

The result sees not only their two records snapped, but also their grip on first place slip as Boeung Ket leapfrogged Svay Rieng into top spot in the standings. Boeung Ket are now the only unbeaten team in the league with 12 matches without defeat and their latest victory their eighth in succession.

In the weekend's other top-five battle, Visakaha and NagaWorld shared a 1-1 draw, while National Defense Ministry defeated EDC 4-2, Asia Euro United edged Soltilo Angkor 2-1, and there were also wins for Angkor Tiger and Kirivong Sok Sen Chey.

Laos: Lao Toyota keep on rolling

Having sat out last week's fixtures, Lao Toyota returned on the weekend with an impressive 2-0 win over third-placed Young Elephant, a result that puts their opponents 10 points behind the front runners.

The side in second, Master 7, were not in action but the gap between themselves and Lao Toyota now stretches to five points, albeit with a game in hand.

In Sunday's ties Viengchanh edged Vientiane FT 1-0, while Ezra snapped their four game winless slump in impressive fashion as they put five past Lao Police Club in a 5-1 victory.


Photo: Yangon United

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