Domestic Leagues

East Asia & ASEAN Wrap: Football returns in Vietnam as cup competition kicks off


Kuala Lumpur: Vietnam became the first country in Southeast Asia to resume competitive football with the first round of the 2020 Vietnamese Cup being held over the weekend. 

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors maintained their perfect start to the K League season to claim their third win in a row and move clear at the top, while there were mixed fortunes for the Japanese contingent in Germany's top two divisions.

Elsewhere, the China PR national team took on Shanghai SIPG in a friendly, there are new league leaders in Chinese Taipei and the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) announced its all-time Best XI, so join the-AFC.com as we review the action on and off the pitch across East Asia and ASEAN.

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Vietnam: Vietnamese Cup kicks off

Competitive action returned to Vietnam at the weekend with the 2020 Vietnamese Cup getting underway as the Southeast Asian nation became the first in ASEAN to resume after the the COVID-19 enforced hiatus.

While a number of top-flight clubs, including holders Hanoi FC, will not join until the second round, the tournament began on Saturday with Nam Dinh running out 2-0 winners over Hoang Anh Gia Lai in a battle of V.League 1 sides.

Another V.League 1 team, Sai Gon, have already fallen to second-tier opposition, though, as they suffered a 2-1 loss against Ba Ria Vung Tau on Sunday.

Elsewhere, An Giang overcame Long An on penalties after a 2-2 draw between the V.League 2 sides, while there were also wins for V.League 1 teams Da Nang and Song Lam Nghe An, who defeated Hue and Binh Dinh respectively.

The five remaining first round fixtures will take place on Monday.


Korea Republic: Jeonbuk open up two-point lead

Second-half goals from Murilo and Cho Kyu-seong helped Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors claim a 2-0 victory over Daegu FC at Jeonju World Cup Stadium on Sunday as the defending K League champions stretched their lead at the summit to two points.

Jeonbuk had begun the weekend level pegging with Ulsan Hyundai at the top of the standings, but Ulsan dropped their first points of the campaign on Saturday and needed a Junior Negrao penalty with 11 minutes to play to secure a 1-1 draw against Busan IPark., who picked up their first point of the season.

FC Seoul won their second successive game and sit third after goals from Hwang Hyun-soo and Osmar Ibanez saw the capital city side come from a goal down to seal a 2-1 victory at Pohang Steelers as the sides got the weekend's action underway on Friday.

Sangju Sangmu condemned bottom side Gwangju to a third loss in a row as an early goal from Kang Sang-woo proved the difference in a 1-0 win that saw them rise to fourth in the table, while their opponents are still in search of their first points.

After losing their first two games, meanwhile, Suwon Samsung Bluewings finally got points on the board, with veteran midfielder Yeam Ki-hun's penalty enough to see them run out 1-0 winners over Incheon United.

Finally, Gangwon and Seongnam FC drew 1-1 and occupy seventh and fifth place respectively after three rounds of fixtures.


Japan: Osako's Bremen claim crucial win

Yuya Osako's Werder Bremen picked up a potentially invaluable three points on Saturday as they secured a hard-fought away win at seventh-placed Freiburg. The Japanese forward, whose side remain second bottom but closed the gap on those above them, was brought off the bench just after the hour mark.

Daichi Kamada was also a second-half substitute while Makoto Hasebe remained on the bench as Eintracht Frankfurt suffered a 5-2 loss at leaders Bayern Munich in what was their fifth successive league defeat and continued their worrying slide towards the relegation places.

In Bundesliga 2, meanwhile, Genki Haraguchi was on the scoresheet as Hannover 96 secured a 4-2 win against Osnabruck in what was their first game since early March, while Wataru Endo claimed an assist but it was not enough to prevent third-placed VfB Stuggart slipping to a 3-2 defeat against Holstein Kiel.


China PR: National team defeat Shanghai SIPG in friendly

On Thursday, China faced an SIPG team containing Brazilian trio Oscar, Hulk, Ricardo Lopes and Uzbekistan star Odil Ahmedov in the ranks, but emerged 4-1 victors.

China forward Tan Long scored a brace while Wei Shihao and Dong Xuesheng were also on the scoresheet; Ricardo Lopes found the net for the Chinese Super League side.

In less positive news for the national side, naturalised Brazilian striker Aloisio was withdrawn after 30 minutes of his debut following a thigh injury, and is expected to need at least three weeks recovery.


Indonesia: PSSI announce Indonesia's Greatest XI

The Football Association of Indonesia revealed their national side's best-ever line up based on votes from fans on their social media platforms.

Big names such as Persija Jakarta icon Bambang Pamungkas and Persipura Jayapura's hero Boaz Salossa lead the attack, ahead of the likes of former national team coach Bima Sakti in midfield and Persib Bandung legend Robby Darwis in defence.

There are, perhaps surprisingly, no places for several stars including Ponaryo Astaman, Kurniawan Dwi Yulianto and Firman Utina.


Chinese Taipei: Taichung Futuro take pole position

With league leaders Hang Yuan FC not in action this weekend, Taichung Futuro took full advantage to move top of the standings in Chinese Taipei following a 1-0 victory over second-from-bottom Ming Chuan University.

The only other game of the weekend saw TSU FC make it two wins in a row as they condemned bottom side Taipei Red Lions to a seventh successive defeat to leave them four points adrift at the foot of the table.

Hang Yuan will have the chance to move top again next weekend when they take on third-placed Taipower, who would also rise to the summit if they claim all three points.


Singapore: The Baihakki Khaizan household celebrate Eid

Across Asia, Eid, also known as Hari Raya and Lebaran, was celebrated over the weekend by followers of the Muslim faith.

Legendary Singapore defender Baihakki Khaizan was among the millions who marked the occasion on his social media, sharing photos of his family in traditional dress.

Selamat Hari Raya, Baihakki and family!


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Photos: CFA, Vietnam Football Federation, Taichung Futuro

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