East Asia Domestic Wrap: Beijing gain ground on Guangzhou
Kuala Lumpur: Having threatened to pull away from the chasing pack, Guangzhou Evergrande are back in a battle for the title after a surprise defeat to Wuhan Zall.
There were no league matches in Japan or Hong Kong, but there was some intriguing action in Korea Republic, Mongolia and Chinese Taipei as their respective championships begin to enter the final straits of their seasons.
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As recently as mid-August, Guangzhou Evergrande were sitting pretty; seven points clear at the top of the Chinese Super League and on a 13-match winning streak. While Fabio Cannavaro's team did impressively eliminate AFC Champions League holders Kashima Antlers in last week's quarter-final, things look quite different on the domestic front.
A third successive match without a win and a second defeat on the bounce, this time at home to Wuhan, couldn't have come at a worse time as second-placed Beijing FC won 3-0 away at Tianjin Tianhai to close within a point.
Shanghai SIPG, too, rebounded from their disappointment of elimination in the AFC Champions League quarter-finals with a 2-1 win at home to Henan Jianye that sees them just two points further back.
Neither K League 1 leaders Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors nor the team in second place, Ulsan Hyundai, were in action after their matches were postponed but there were still four fixtures that went ahead.
FC Seoul, in third, missed out on the chance to make ground on the top two with a disappointing 2-1 loss away at Pohang Steelers, although Jeju United gave their hopes of avoiding relegation a boost with an impressive 3-0 win at home to Seongnam FC.
Suwon Samsung Bluewings could only draw 1-1 with fellow mid-table club Sangju Sangmu, while bottom side Incheon United would have been happier with the same scoreline against fifth-placed Daegu FC thanks to Myung Jun-jae's late leveller.
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It was all change in the Mongolia Premier League with league leaders Erchim finally overhauled by Ulaanbaatar City following their results on the weekend.
Erchim, who had only lost twice all season, were stunned 2-0 at home by Selenge Press, which allowed Ulaanbaatar City to leapfrog them into pole position following a convincing 7-2 win over Anduud City.
And it wasn't the only upset as the team in third, Athletic 220, were also defeated in a 4-1 surprise loss to Deren. In the weekend's other fixtures FC Ulaanbaatar lose 3-1 to Khangarid, while Khoromkhon beat Khaan Khuns Titem 2-0.
There were just two ties in the Chinese Taipei domestic championship but both involved the two teams at the top.
Front-runners Tatung defeated Taichung Futuro 1-0, while Taipower bested TSU 2-0.
The gap between the two remains at three points, albeit with a game in hand for the latter.
Photo: Beijing FC
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