Domestic Leagues

East Asia Wrap: Defending champions Guangzhou win 2020 CSL opener

Kuala Lumpur: Wei Shihao bagged a brace as Guangzhou Evergrande got their 2020 Chinese Super League campaign off to a winning start following a 2-0 victory over Shanghai Shenhua in Dalian on Saturday. 

In Japan, Kawasaki Frontale continue to set the pace after a sixth win on the bounce since the J.League resumed while the top two in Korea Republic recorded victories and are beginning to pull away from the chasing pack.

Elsewhere, just two points separate the top three after the latest round of fixtures in Chinese Taipei and the Mongolian Premier League is beginning to take shape, so join as we review the best of the action from East Asia.

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China: Guangzhou off to winning start

Five months after it was initially scheduled to kick off, the 2020 Chinese Super League finally got underway on Saturday with 2019 champions Guangzhou Evergrande running out 2-0 winners over Shanghai Shenhua in Group A thanks to a Wei Shihao double.

Also in Group A, Evergrande’s neighbours Guangzhou R&F suffered a 3-0 loss to Guangdong rivals Shenzhen FC, for whom on loan striker Gao Lin was on the scoresheet, while Jiangsu FC came from two down to record a 4-3 victory over Henan Jianye in a topsy-turvy encounter.

After making a full recovery from COVID-19, meanwhile, Marouane Fellaini enjoyed the perfect start to the new season as the Belgian netted a hat-trick in a 3-2 win over Dalian Pro.

In Group B in Suzhou, the 2019 runners-up Beijing FC got off to a winning start as the capital city side claimed a 2-1 victory over Chongqing Lifan and Wuhan Zall were 2-0 winners against Qingdao Huanghai.

Hebei CFFC and Shijiazhuang Ever Bright played out a 2-2 draw in a game that saw Ricardo Goulart make his competitive debut for Hebei, while 2018 champions Shanghai SIPG will complete the first round of fixtures when they face Tianjin Teda on Monday.

Japan: Kawasaki march on

J.League leaders Kawasaki Frontale continued their hot streak as they came from behind to overcome Shonan Bellmare 3-1 and remain three points clear at the top of the standings.

Gamba Osaka are up to second after Yuji Ono and Takashi Usami were on the scoresheet in a 2-0 victory over Vissel Kobe with what was their fourth successive win.

Runners-up last year, FC Tokyo drew 2-2 with Kashima Antlers, who dropped back to the bottom of the table, while defending champions Yokohama F. Marinos suffered a fourth defeat in seven games by going down 3-1 to Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo.

One of the form teams in the J,League, Kashiwa Reysol made it three wins on the bounce as Kenyan Michael Olunga scored a hat-trick in a 5-1 win over Vegalta Sendai as the newly promoted side continued their surge up the league.

After suffering back-to-back defeats, Urawa Red Diamonds returned to winning ways with a 2-0 victory over Yokohama FC to move to sixth, one place behind Cerezo Osaka who drew 1-1 with Sagan Tosu.

Finally, there was a first win of the season for Shimizu S-Pulse as a 4-2 victory over Oita Trinita moved them off the bottom of the table.

Korea Republic: Ulsan stay three clear

Top scorer Junior Negrao added another two goals to his tally as K League leaders Ulsan Hyundai recorded a resounding 5-1 victory over Sangju Sangmu to remain three points clear at the summit.

Defending champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors stayed hot on their heels, though, claiming a 3-0 win over second-from-bottom FC Seoul as the top two begin to pull away from the chasing pack.

Pohang Steelers are up to third, but they could only manage a 1-1 draw against bottom side Incheon United, while Dejan Damjanovic was on the scoresheet as Daegu FC saw off Busan IPark 3-0.

After going five league games without a win, Suwon Samsung Bluewings are back on track following a 1-0 victory over Gwangju, with the game between Seongnam and Gangwon ending goalless.

Chinese Taipei: Taichung Futuro close the gap

There was a crucial game at the top of the table in Chinese Taipei as second-placed Taichung Futuro claimed a 3-2 win over league leaders Taipower to move within two points of the summit on Sunday.

Level on points with Taichung, Hang Yuan stayed third after edging defending champions Tatung 1-0 while Tainan City eased to a 4-1 win over TSU FC to move fourth.

The league’s bottom two sides, Ming Chuan University and Taipei Red Lions, meanwhile, played out a 1-1 draw.

Mongolia: Khangarid win thriller

Khangarid made it four wins from four to stay top of the Mongolian Premier League after running out 5-4 victors over Khaan Khuns-Erchim on Sunday.

Defending champions Ulaanbaatar City picked up their first win since the opening day to see off Athletic 220 1-0 while Ulaanbaatar defeated UB Mazaalaynuud 6-0.

Finally, things are going from bad to worse for bottom side Sumida Gepro, who were on the wrong end of a 7-0 scoreline against Deren.


Photo: AFP

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