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East Asia Leagues Wrap: Goals galore as Hong Kong season kicks off


Kuala Lumpur: The Hong Kong Premier League got underway at the weekend with champions Wofoo Tai Po suffering a heavy defeat and the goals raining in on an entertaining opening few days of action. 

Elsewhere in East Asia, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors climbed back to the top of K League 1 in Korea Republic, while the top three in Japan recorded victories ahead of the international break.

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Hong Kong

Reigning champions Wofoo Tai Po got off to the worst possible start in the Hong Kong Premier League as they suffered a 4-1 home defeat to Guangzhou R&F U-19 on Saturday following three second-half goals from the visitors. 

The season kicked off a day earlier, with five different players getting on the scoresheet as Kitchee SC posted a comprehensive 5-0 victory over Happy Valley to move top of the early standings. 

Elsewhere, two goals in the final 10 minutes saw Eastern SC claim a come-from-behind 2-1 win at Yuen Long, while Lee Man FC won 4-2 against Hong Kong Pegasus and Kwoon Chung Southern defeated Biu Chun Rangers 3-1.


Korea Republic

The to and from at the K League 1 summit continued over the weekend as Ulsan Hyundai and Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors again swapped positions in what has developed into a thrilling two-way battle at the top.

Lee Keun-ho thought he had claimed all three points for Ulsan when he put his side 3-2 up away at Incheon United with a minute to play, only for Montenegrin Stefan Mugosa to complete his hat-trick in stoppage time and round off an entertaining 3-3 draw.

Jeonbuk capitalised to move a point clear of their rivals following a 2-0 victory over third-placed FC Seoul in which goalkeeper Song Bum-keun saved a second-half penalty. There are now 12 points separating second and third place.

At the other end of the table, Jeju United lost 1-0 against Suwon Samsung Bluewings and are bottom of the standings, a point behind Incheon.


Japan

FC Tokyo continue to set the pace in Japan, with their 2-1 victory over Nagoya Grampus on Friday maintaining their four-point lead at the top of the J.League. 

Kashima Antlers remain their closest challengers, with the Ibaraki side posting a convincing 4-0 win over Shimizu S-Pulse on Sunday, while Yokohama F. Marinos are third following a 3-1 victory against Gamba Osaka. 

A 2-0 win over bottom side Jubilo Iwata saw Sanfrecce Hiroshima jump to fourth as defending champions Kawasaki Frontale dropped to fifth after a 2-1 loss to sixth-placed Cerezo Osaka.

Despite a 6-1 defeat to Vissel Kobe last week, Sagan Tosu are the form team at the bottom as their 2-1 victory over Vegalta Sendai was their third win in four J.League games. They remain in 16th but only four points now separate them from ninth-placed Nagoya.

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Photo: Kitchee SC

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