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East Asia Leagues Wrap: Ulsan back on top in style at Sangju Sangmu

Kuala Lumpur: The back-and-forth battle at the top of the K-League 1 between Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and Ulsan Hyundai took another twist last weekend, as the latter bounced back from defeat to the former to return to the top of the standings.

Elsewhere in East Asia, the Mongolia and China leagues entered a summer break while the championships in Japan and Chinese Taipei continue to excite. Here’s our look back at the action across the region.

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Korea Republic

Jeonbuk's 3-0 win over Ulsan a fortnight ago could well have been the result that saw momentum swing back to the defending champions in what has been a hugely entertaining race so far, and yet there was another twist to the tale on Saturday.

The holders needed a late equaliser from substitute Samuel to salvage a point against Seongnam FC and Ulsan took full advantage with a comprehensive 5-1 win over Sangju Sangmu to leapfrog Jeonbuk.

Still just a point between the sides, there is potential for Ulsan to increase the lead next weekend as they visit bottom side Incheon United, while Jeonbuk have a big test at third placed team FC Seoul.


An exciting 2-2 draw between second placed Kashima Antlers and Gamba Osaka on Friday gave front-runners FC Tokyo a chance to extend their lead at the top, but the capital city side could only draw 1-1 away at Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo on Saturday.

The teams who had been in third and fourth, Kawasaki Frontale and Sanfrecce Hiroshima, could also only draw which allowed Yokohama F. Marinos to leap above both following an impressive 5-1 win at Nagoya Grampus.

The results see FC Tokyo remain top, four ahead of 2019 AFC Champions League quarter-finalists Kashima, with Yokohama a further three points back.

Also of note was the retirement match for Spain legend Fernando Torres, although the result was not one he will look back on fondly after his side Sagan Tosu lost 6-1 at home to Vissel Kobe.

Chinese Taipei

The race for the title in Chinese Taipei took an intriguing turn on the weekend as league leaders Tatung were stunned 4-1 at Tainan City – ending their run of 14 matches unbeaten.

Second-placed Taipower were able to make up some ground with their own 3-0 win over Ming Chuan University, that sees them close the gap on Tatung with a game in hand.

In Sunday's other tie, meanwhile, TSU defeated FC Taicheng with a narrow 3-2 scoreline.


Photo: Ulsan Hyundai

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