Domestic Leagues

East Asia Wrap: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors drop points as Ulsan Hyundai close the gap

Hong Kong: A shock 1-1 draw with Jeju United saw defending Korean champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors' title defence take a misstep as rivals Ulsan Hyundai's win over Gwanju sees them cut the lead to four points.

As well as a full set of domestic match fixtures from China PR and Japan's top flights, there was league action in Hong Kong, Macau and Chinese Taipei, so join as we review the action from across East Asia.

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Korea Republic: Jeju United blunt Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors at home

Although still unbeaten this season, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors may start to rue their inability to finish off teams as a third successive stalemate was finally punished by their main rivals Ulsan Hyundai.

Sunday's 1-1 draw against third-placed Jeju United, courtesy of goals from Jung Woo-jae and Stanislav Iljutcenko, saw Ulsan's 2-0 win over Gwangju FC on Saturday reduce Jeonbuk's lead to four points in the early stage of the 2021 season.

Jeju are a further five points back, with Daegu FC now in fourth after their rollercoaster 4-2 win over Suwon FC. Suwon Samsung Bluewings and Pohang Steelers are, like Daegu, also on 19 points after they drew 1-1.

In the weekend's other ties, FC Seoul and Seongnam shared the points in a back-and-forth 2-2 tie, while Incheon United edged past Gangwon FC following Kim Do-hyeok's 58th-minute winner.

China PR: Shanghai teams stay perfect

AFC Champions League side Beijing FC will be only too glad to see the back of teams from Shanghai, after they followed up their opening defeat to Shanghai Shenhua with a 3-1 loss to Shanghai Port last Wednesday.

A rapid Ricardo Lopes brace in the opening five minutes had Port on their way and, although Jonathan Viera reduced the deficit, Lu Wenjun secured the points with an 81st-minute strike to make it two wins from two.

The blue side of Shanghai was also celebrating a day later as Shenhua bounced back from an early goal from former player Stephane M'Bia to record a 3-1 win over Wuhan FC and enjoy a perfect start to the 2021 Chinese Super League season.

Over the weekend, two-time AFC Champions League winners Guangzhou FC belatedly got their campaign underway with their first win after a draw and a defeat, coming out on top 2-0 over neighbours Shenzhen FC. Meanwhile, Henan Songshan Longmen drew 1-1 with Shandong Taishan after goals from Henrique and Son Jun-ho.

Japan: Points shared in Osaka Derby

With league leaders Kawasaki Frontale facing second-placed side Nagoya Grampus on Tuesday, all eyes were on the Osaka Derby over the weekend as Cerezo hosted Gamba.

While there were no goals in the opening period, the real action came in the final quarter hour when Motohiko Nakajima opened the scoring for the hosts in the 74th minute. But Patric replied from the penalty spot just eight minutes later to ensure a share of the spoils for the Black-and-Blues.

In terms of the title race, the three teams on the heels of Frontale and Grampus all recorded wins over the weekend.

Third placed Sagan Tosu defeated Tokushima Vortis 2-0, Yokohama F. Marinos brushed past FC Tokyo on their own turf with a 3-0 victory, while Vissel Kobe also did likewise with their own 3-0 win over Sanfrecce Hiroshima in a game that saw Andres Iniesta make his return from a long injury lay-off.

Hong Kong: Yet another late goal for Eastern ensures nailbiting conclusion to season

Incredibly, Eastern made it four Hong Kong Premier League matches in a row with a late goal to ensure a victory over Southern District and take them level on points with Kitchee SC.

The Brazilian-born Hong Kong forward Sandro found the net on the 90th minute to help Eastern past Zesh Rehman's side to share pole position with Kitchee, albeit with one more game played. In the other weekend ties, promoted side Resources Capital overcame BC Rangers 1-0, while Lee Man defeated Happy Valley AA in a 4-1 scoreline.

Macau: C.P.K. come out on top in first versus second clash

Macao's Liga de Elite leaders C.P.K. took a step towards dethroning champions Benfica de Macau on Sunday after defeating their challengers 2-0 and creating a little distance at the top of the table.

Also on Sunday, Lun Lok edged Hang Sai 1-0, while Saturday's fixtures saw Sporting defeated 4-2 by Ching Fung and Ka I edge Casa de Portugal 2-1.

Chinese Taipei: Hang Yuan move into contention

With the top of the table tie between Tainan City and Taipower postponed, third-placed Hang Yuan FC edged closer to the leaders with a 2-1 win over CPC FC, while Taichung Futuro and Tatung FC both slipped further back following a goalless stalemate.

Rounding off the weekend's action was promoted side Taipei Flight Skywalkers' 1-0 win over TSU FC.


Photo: Ulsan Hyundai

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