Domestic Leagues

East Asia and ASEAN Wrap: Cerezo edge Gamba as J.League resumes

Kuala Lumpur: Cerezo Osaka claimed the bragging rights after seeing off city rivals Gamba Osaka 2-1 on Saturday as football in Japan resumed at the weekend after more than four months off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In Korea Republic, K League leaders Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors dropped points for only the second time this season after defeat to Sangju Sangmu to allow Ulsan Hyundai to close the gap to just a point after they saw off Incheon United.

Unbeaten Saigon are back on top in Vietnam, while the leagues in both Cambodia and Mongolia also returned in recent days, so join as we review the latest from East Asia and ASEAN.

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Japan: Derby delight for Cerezo

Hiroaki Okuno and Yusuke Maruhashi were both on the scoresheet as Cerezo Osaka sealed a 2-1 victory over neighbours Gamba Osaka on Saturday as competitive action returned in Japan for the first time since late February in what was the second round of fixtures of the 2020 campaign.

Cerezo are one of three teams on maximum points, with Sanfrecce Hiroshima leading the way after Leandro Pereira bagged a brace in a convincing 3-0 victory away at Vissel Kobe, while FC Tokyo are in second following a 1-0 win over 10-man Kashiwa Reysol.

Defending champions Yokohama F.Marinos are still in search of their first league win of the season after playing out a goalless draw against Urawa Red Diamonds, who sit fifth, while Nagoya Grampus are fourth after coming from behind to beat Shimizu S-Pulse 2-1.

Goals from Shogo Taniguchi and Tatsuya Hasegawa helped 2018 champions Kawasaki Frontale see off Kashima Antlers 2-1 to leave the 2018 AFC Champions League winners propping up the early standings.

Musashi Suzuki was at the double as Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo overcame newly promoted Yokohama FC to pick up their first points of the season, while Tatsuya Tanaka also scored two as Oita Trinita defeated Sagan Tosu 2-0.

Finally, an early goal from Ryo Germain was enough for Vegalta Sendai as they claimed a 1-0 win over Shonan Bellmare to remain unbeaten after two rounds of fixtures.

Thailand: Chanathip excels in J1 League resumption

As football in Japan returned, it gave some of Thai football's brightest exports the chance to shine once more.

While defender Theerathon Bunmathan helped Yokohama F. Marinos to a clean sheet against Urawa, Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo playmaker Chanathip Songraksin was in particularly sparkling form.

The diminutive midfielder was at his inventive best assisting Masushi Suzuki's winner with an incisive pass and putting on another impressive display as his side defeated Yokohama FC 2-1. Forward Teerasil Dangda came off the bench in Shimizu S-Pulse's 2-1 home loss to Nagoya Grampus, while custodian Kawin Thamsatchanan was an unused sub for Consadole.

Korea Republic: Jeonbuk slip up; 'Super Match' ends all square

Kang Sang-woo's second-half penalty helped Sangju Sangmu seal a 1-0 win over K League leaders Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors on Sunday as they made it four victories in a row to stay third in the standings.

The Jeonju side's second defeat of the season allowed Ulsan Hyundai to move within a point of the top as Brazilian striker Junior Negrao continued his red-hot form with a hat-trick in 4-1 win over bottom side Incheon United a day earlier.

Dejan Damjanovic scored two as another form team, Daegu FC, saw off Gwangju 4-2 to remain in fourth position after what was their third win on the bounce.

The 2019 top scorer Adam Taggart netted twice as Suwon Samsung Bluewings and FC Seoul played out an entertaining 3-3 draw in the 'Super Match', although the point did little to help the pair as they remain in tenth and ninth respectively.

Lee Dong-jun scored a brace as Busan IPark moved into the top half following a 4-2 victory at Gangwon, while Song Min-kyu also registered two in Pohang Steelers' resounding 4-0 win against Seongnam FC.

Vietnam: Saigon return to summit

Goals from Brazilian duo Pedro Paulo and Geovane Magno saw Saigon claim a 2-0 win over Hai Phong to remain unbeaten after eight games and move back above city rivals Ho Chi Minh City FC at the top of the V.League.

Ho Chi Minh City, however, have the chance to make the position theirs once more on Monday should they overcome Becamex Binh Duong as the games continue to come thick and fast in the Southeast Asian country.

Defending champions Hanoi FC drew 1-1 with third-placed Viettel, while Song Lam Nghe An – who topped the standings just a couple of weeks ago – have now lost three in a row after going down 2-1 against Quang Nam.

Cambodia: Big win for Svay Rieng as Crown lose ground

Football in Cambodia returned after a near four-month absence on the weekend, and defending champions Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng showed no signs of ring-rust with a heavy 10-0 defeat of Bati Academy U-18 that takes their unbeaten run at the league's summit to six games.

Nearest challengers Phnom Penh Crown had been neck-and-neck with the holders, but a 2-2 draw with fifth-placed Visakha sees them drop two points behind in second.

Boeung Ket are just three points further back but with a game in hand after a comfortable 3-0 win over Soltilo Angkor. NagaWorld round off the top four after their 4-1 win over National Defence Ministry.

Mongolia: Premier League kicks off

SP Falcons got the Mongolian Premier League underway with a 1-0 win over Deren last Wednesday, with the remaining eight teams beginning their 2020 campaigns over the weekend.

Defending champions Ulaanbaatar City got off to the perfect start by easing past UB Mazaalaynuud 3-0 on Sunday, but the biggest winners of the weekend were Erchim FC who scored 13 without reply against Sumida Gepro.

Elsewhere, Ulaanbaatar and Athletic 220 played out a 2-2 draw, while Khangarid overcame Anduud City 2-0.

Chinese Taipei: Taipower move top

There are new leaders in Chinese Taipei after Taipower FC secured a 3-0 win over Ming Chuan University on Sunday to move two points clear at the summit.

Taichung Futuro had led the way going into the weekend but suffered their first loss of the campaign after going down 1-0 against defending champions Tatung FC, while Hang Yuan defeated TSU FC 3-2.

The only other game saw Tainan City edge a 1-0 win against bottom side Taipei Red Lions.

China PR: Wins for Beijing and SIPG; Guangzhou derby drawn

With the news that the Chinese Super League will return on July 25, teams stepped up their preparations in earnest with a series of warm-up matches over the weekend.

A goal from Alan saw Beijing FC defeat Zhejiang Greentown while a brace from Lu Wenjun helped Shanghai SIPG put four past Kunshan FC. Having traded victories in recent meetings, the Guangzhou derby between Guangzhou Evergrande and Guangzhou R&F was drawn as Wei Shihao and Eran Zahavi scored for either side.


Photo: Cerezo Osaka

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