Domestic Leagues

East Asia & ASEAN Wrap: Jeonbuk and Ulsan win again


Kuala Lumpur: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and Ulsan Hyundai edged to narrow wins over the weekend as they continue to set the pace in Korea Republic's K League.

In Vietnam, Saigon claimed the bragging rights after a derby day victory over Ho Chi Minh City FC saw them move top of the V.League, while Taichung Futoro won again to stay in pole position in Chinese Taipei.

It was also a good weekend for China PR's star man in Spain and Japan's representation in Germany's top flight, while there was an Indonesian debut in Serbia, so join the-AFC.com as we review the best of the action from East Asia and ASEAN.

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Korea Republic: Top two pick up three points

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and Ulsan Hyundai appear to be pulling away at the K League summit after the pair recorded victories on Saturday, while an FC Seoul legend rubbed salt into their wounds as the capital city side suffered the biggest defeat of the weekend.

Veteran striker Lee Dong-gook's penalty just before the hour helped Jeonbuk edge to a 1-0 victory over bottom side Incheon United as the Jeonju side remained a point clear at the top of the standings.

Second-placed Ulsan Hyundai stayed hot on their heels, though, as the K League's leading scorer and Player of the Month Junior Negrao netted his seventh goal of the season three minutes from time to seal a 1-0 win against Seongnam FC.

After going four games without a win, meanwhile, Daegu FC have hit form by winning their second in a row, and they did it in some style. Kim Dae-won bagged a brace in a 6-0 victory over FC Seoul and Dejan Damjanovic came off the bench to net against his former club with what was his first goal for the Forest Arena side.

Elsewhere, third-placed Gangwon lost ground on the top two as they played out a 2-2 draw against Suwon Samsung Bluewings, while Aleksandar Palocevic and Stanislav Ilijutcenko each scored twice as Pohang Steelers defeated Sangju Sangmu 4-2 to rise to fourth.

Finally, Gwangju made it two wins from two as they came from behind to overcome Busan IPark 3-1 and leave their opponents still searching for their first win of the campaign.


Vietnam: Saigon win Ho Chi Minh City derby to move top

Saigon lead the way in Vietnam after Nguyen Vu Tin scored the only goal of the game to hand local rivals Ho Chi Minh City FC their first defeat of the season and move top of the V.League after four games.

Viettel dropped to second, but only on goal difference, after they could only manage a 1-1 draw against Than Quang Ninh, while Song Lam Nghe An are also on eight points after a scoreless draw against Thanh Hoa, who picked up their first point of the season.

Newly promoted Hong Linh Ha Tinh scored late to pick up a commendable point against defending champions Hanoi FC in a 1-1 draw, while Hoang Anh Gia Lai condemned Nam Dinh to a second successive defeat following a 1-0 win.

There was a huge win for Becamex Binh Duong, meanwhile, with the Thu Dau Mot City club running out 5-0 victors over Hai Phong as the northeastern side slumped to their first defeat of the season.

Finally, Da Nang went into the weekend bottom of the table and without a point, but picked up their first win in some style as Nigerian Ismahil Akinade scored twice in a 6-1 win over Quang Nam.


Japan: Big wins for Japanese contingent

Yuya Osako was on the scoresheet as Werder Bremen picked up a vital three points by easing to a 5-1 win over bottom side Paderborn on Saturday. While Bremen remain second bottom and in the drop zone, only goal difference separates them from the relegation play-off place and they are just three points from safety with three games remaining.

Daichi Kamada claimed an assist while Makoto Hasebe also starred as Eintracht Frankfurt staged a second-half comeback to reverse a 1-0 deficit at Hertha Berlin and win 4-1 to confirm their place in next season's top flight after a recent run of good form.

The news was not quite as good for the Japan internationals in Bundesliga 2, though, as Wataru Endo's VfB Stuttgart dropped to third following a 2-1 loss against relegation threatened Karlsruher and Genki Haraguchi's Hannover 96 conceded in the last minute to lose 3-2 to Darmstadt 98.


China PR: 'Decisive' Wu Lei on target as Espanyol defeat Alaves

China star Wu Lei had a weekend to remember as he played a vital role in Espanyol's important relegaton-battle win over Alaves as Spain's La Liga resumed.

In an all-action display, the former Shanghai SIPG man first hurried Alaves keeper Fernando Pachecho into a mistake leading to his sending off, then had a goal disallowed for off-side, before scoring the game's important second goal early in the second half with a composed finish.

"He was decisive," said Espanyol coach Abelardo Fernandez. "He caused the sending off and he scored the second goal. He did everything we asked him to do, he stretched their defence. He did his job perfectly."


Indonesia: Witan Sulaeman makes Serbian SuperLiga debut

After Hao Runze made his debut in Serbia's top flight a fortnight ago, it was the turn of another long-awaited Asian debutant in the Balkan nation as Indonesia's Witan Sulaeman took to the field for FK Radnik Surdulica on Saturday.

Appropriately enough, Witan's club faced off against Hao's Radnicki Nis, although it would have been the Chinese defender who would have been the happier at the match's conclusion after the visitors came out on top 4-2 at Surdulica's Stadion FK Radnik.

Witan entered the fray on 64 minutes replacing Bogdan Stamenkovic, and the 18-year-old midfielder will be hoping after making his bow that a place in the starting XI isn't far away.


Chinese Taipei: Taichung Futuro win to stay top

Taichung Futuro maintained their unbeaten run at the top in Chinese Taipei after running out 3-2 winners over TSU FC but they remain just a point ahead of Taipower FC after they edged to a 1-0 win over defending champions Tatung FC.

Taipei Red Lions picked up their first point of the campaign as they secured an impressive draw against third-placed Hang Yuan FC, while the game between Ming Chuan University and Tainan City was abandoned due to poor weather conditions.


Singapore: National team legend returns home

Singapore's third most capped player Baihakki Khaizan, 36, has returned to his homeland by signing with Tampines Rovers for the remainder of the 2020 Singapore Premier League season.

With 137 international appearances for the Lions, Baihakki last played in his native domestic league in 2017 for Warriors FC and he joins the Stags following the mutual termination of his contract with Thai top tier side PT Prachuap.

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Photos: Ulsan Hyundai

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