Domestic Leagues

East Asia & ASEAN Wrap: Jeonbuk open up four-point lead

Kuala Lumpur: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors have moved four points clear at the top of the K League after securing a 2-0 victory over Ulsan Hyundai as the top two in Korea Republic faced off on Sunday. 

The latest round of fixtures in Vietnam saw Ho Chi Minh City FC move top of the standings, while the defending champions Hanoi FC also enjoyed a return to form as the V.League begins to take shape after six games.

Elsewhere, there was a huge result for a Japanese international in Germany, a Guangzhou derby in China PR and a pair of big announcements in Southeast Asia, as well as unbridled joy in Australia, so join as we pick out the biggest stories from East Asia and ASEAN.

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Korea Republic: Jeonbuk win battle of top two

Just a point separated them at the start of the game but Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors are now looking strong at the top of the K League after stretching four points clear of Ulsan Hyundai following a 2-0 victory on Sunday.

With Ulsan down to 10 men following Kim Ki-hee's dismissal shortly before the half hour, Han Kyo-won gave the visitors the lead as half-time approached before Takahiro Kunimoto made sure of the three points deep into stoppage time.

Kang Sang-woo struck late in the game as Sangju Sangmu dealt Suwon Samsung Bluewings a 1-0 defeat to rise to third and leave Suwon third from bottom after a worrying run of form.

Another side whose form has been poor in recent weeks, FC Seoul ended their five-game losing run by seeing off bottom team Incheon United 1-0 after Yun Ju-tae's solitary goal. The capital city club jumped to ninth, while Incheon remain bottom and have now lost six on the bounce.

Daegu's great run of late continued as Brazilian duo Edgar Silva and Cesinha scored in a 2-1 win over Gangwon and the Forest Stadium club are now up to fourth in the standings.

Pohang Steelers scored a goal in each half to see off Gwangju 2-0 and stay level on points with Daegu, while draw specialists Busan IPark ended 1-1 against Seongnam FC with what was their fifth stalemate in nine games.

Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh City return to summit

While there were no games in Vietnam over the weekend, there was a full set of fixtures played over last Tuesday and Wednesday that saw four of the potential title challengers square off.

On Tuesday, Nguyen Cong Phuong was among the goals as Ho Chi Minh City FC defeated then table-toppers Song Lam Nghe An 3-1 to take their opponents' place at the V.League summit.

A day later, Rimario Gordon (pictured below) bagged a brace as defending champions Hanoi FC got back on track following a two-game winless run as they overcame Becamex Binh Duong 2-0 to move up to third.

Saigon are still the league's only unbeaten side but their 1-1 draw against Hong Linh Ha Tinh means they have now drawn four of their six matches and have dropped to fifth, while two penalties from Jamaican Andre Fagan helped Than Quang Ninh to a 3-1 win over Quang Nam as they rose to sixth.

Early pace-setters Viettel are dropping rapidly as they lost 2-1 to Thanh Hoa, who have now picked up seven points from nine after losing their first three games, and Da Nag are another team going in the right direction following a 3-1 win over Hoang Anh Gia Lai.

Finally, things are looking increasingly worrying for bottom side Nam Dinh, who have lost four in a row and have not picked up a point since the league's resumption after suffering a 2-0 home defeat against Hai Phong.

Japan: Huge win for Osako's Bremen

Yuya Osako opened the scoring and added another in the second half as Werder Bremen claimed a crucial 6-1 victory over the striker's former side FC Koln on the final day of Germany's Bundesliga season as Werder leapfrogged Fortuna Dusseldorf at the last to avoid automatic relegation.

The Japanese international will look to continue his recent form into this week's relegation play-off as Werder aim to come out on top of a two-legged tie against Heidenheim in order to avoid the drop.

Should they do so, Osako will line up against Samurai Blue teammate Wataru Endo next season, with the defender's VfB Stuttgart securing promotion from Bundesliga 2 despite a 3-1 loss to Darmstadt on the final day of the season.

In England, Takumi Minamino became the third Japanese international in eight years to win the Premier League after Manchester City's defeat to Chelsea last Thursday confirmed Liverpool as champions. The forward joins Shinji Okazaki (2015-16) and Shinji Kagawa (2012-13) in achieving the feat.

Maya Yoshida's Sampdoria's struggles since Serie A resumed continued as a 2-1 home loss to Bologna means the Genoa side have now lost three in a row and sit just a point above the bottom three.

Finally, in Spain's La Liga there was an important win for Takashi Inui's Eibar as they saw off Granada 2-1 on Sunday to edge further clear of the drop zone, but Takefusa Kubo's RCD Mallorca are now eight points from safety following a 2-1 loss to Athletic Bilbao.

China PR: R&F come out on top in Guangzhou derby rematch

Last month, the red side of Guangzhou celebrated as a Fernando strike sealed a 2-1 friendly win between Guangzhou Evergrande and Guangzhou R&F, but in the return meeting over the weekend it was an emphatic victory for the hosts at Yuexiushan Stadium.

A brace from prolific striker Eran Zahavi and a goal from Li Songyi had R&F three up by half-time and, although Elkeson hit the post for the visitors, it was a lead they would retain until the final whistle.

China PR legend Zheng Zhi, recently appointed to a player-assistant coach role at Guangzhou Evergrande, started the match for Fabio Cannavaro's side.

Thailand: One in, one out for BG Pathum United

The revolving door at Thai League 1 side BG Pathum United continues as just days after announcing the signing of Thailand forward Chenrop Samphaodi, The Rabbits allowed winger Chakkit Laptrakul to join Samut Prakan City ahead of the weekend.

Chenrop, 25, was part of back-to-back gold medal winning Thailand sides in the 2015 and 2017 SEA Games and was a Thai FA Cup winner with Port FC in the 2019 season.

Chakkit, meanwhile, spent part of last year on loan at Japanese Tokushima Fortis, although he did not see game time for the senior side. The Bangkok-native, part of BG Pathum's promotion-winning side, will take the number 10 shirt for the central province club.

Indonesia: Stadiums announced for FIFA U-20 World Cup 2021

On Friday, PSSI chairman Mochammad Iriawan revealed the six venues to be used at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Indonesia 2021.

The stadiums chosen were the Gelora Bung Karno in Jakarta, the Gelora Bung Tomo in Surabaya, the Si Jalak Harupat Stadium in Bandung, the Gelora Sriwijaya Stadium in Palembang, and the Kapten I Wayan Dipta Stadium in Bali.

In September or October, FIFA's delegates will visit Indonesia to inspect the six stadiums, according to the PSSI. The U-20 World Cup is scheduled to be played from May 20 to June 12, 2021.

Australia: FIFA Women's World Cup joy

Finally, we all know by now that Australia and New Zealand won the rights to host the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup after being selected ahead of Colombia, but have you ever imagined the tension in the build-up to such a huge announcement?

Experienced Matilda Steph Catley took to Instagram so show just what it was like as players and officials nervously waited to learn their fate. Happy is an understatement.


Photos: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors

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