East Asia Leagues Wrap: SIPG claim bragging rights in Shanghai derby
Kuala Lumpur: The games continue to come thick and fast in East Asia with the leagues in China PR, Korea Republic and Japan continuing to take some intriguing turns.
The leagues in Mongolia and Chinese Taipei are into a summer break before the next round of fixtures on July 21, but there was plenty of action from four other Member Associations.
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The top four in the Chinese Super League all claimed victories over the weekend as Guangzhou Evergrande, Shanghai SIPG and Shandong Luneng continue to keep the pressure on league leaders Beijing FC.
Beijing FC's 3-0 win over Wuhan saw them remain two points ahead of second placed Guangzhou, who claimed a 3-1 victory away at Tianjin Tianhai on Friday, while Shandong completed a capital city double with a 2-0 win over Beijing Renhe coming a week after they defeated Beijing FC.
Nevertheless, the biggest fixture of the weekend was the Shanghai derby between the reds of Shanghai SIPG and the blues of Shanghai Shenua.
And the changes can't come soon enough. A Hulk brace coupled with a Wang Shenchao strike inflicted a 3-1 defeat that sees Shenhua remain just a point above the relegation zone.
In Japan, Kawasaki Frontale's goalless stalemate with relegation-threatened Sagan Tosu saw Yokohama F. Marinos leapfrog their neighbours into second place with a win over Oita Trinita.
Crucially, it meant that the other half of the Tamagawa Clasico, FC Tokyo, were able to extend their lead at the J.League summit after a 3-1 defeat of Gamba Osaka.
Kashima Antlers' 2-0 win over Jublio Iwata saw the 2019 AFC Champions League quarter-finalists move into fourth above Oita.
Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors continued to lead the way in the K.League but the margin between themselves and second place Ulsan Hyundai and FC Seoul in third remains slim.
The Jeonju side defeated Seongnam FC 3-1 on Sunday to match the three points Ulsan claimed a day earlier at home to Incheon United, and they stay above the second placed side by a point.
Ulsan, however, retain a game in hand and on July 14 will face off against the league leaders in what is effectively a six-pointer. FC Seoul, meanwhile, are a point further back after a 2-2 draw at home to Gangwon.
C.P.K. memorably claimed their first Macau championship at the end of last month, and, although there were no matches this weekend, there was action on Friday as Tak Chun Ka I inflicted a heavy 7-1 defeat to Hang Sai.
Another result of note took place a day earlier, when the Macau version of the "Derby de Lisboa" was played.
It turned out to be a one-sided affair: Benfica de Macau celebrated a 7-0 win over archrivals Sporting Club de Macau.
Photo: Shanghai SIPG
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