Domestic Leagues

East Asia Wrap: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors take top spot, Nagoya Grampus close in

Hong Kong: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors FC are the new leaders of the K League 1, while Kawasaki Frontale maintained their position at the top of the J1 League with Nagoya Grampus closing in. 

The K League 1 saw several teams reaching double figures in terms of points as the tight race continues with little separating them all.

In Japan, Nagoya Grampus are a team to watch as they moved within one of point of Kawasaki Frontale while Kitchee SC are setting the pace in the Hong Kong Premier League.

Join as we review the latest round of domestic action in East Asia.

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Hong Kong: Kitchee SC up top as Hong Kong Premier League reaches halfway point

Kicthee SC maintained pole position in the Hong Kong Premier League, despite being held 1-1 by Eastern SC.

After a goalless first half, talismanic striker Dejan Damjanović - who signed from Korea Republic's Daegu FC - opened the scoring for Kitchee in the 49th minute.

However, the defending champions were unable to hold on to their lead, as Everton Camargo slotted home in the 70th minute to salvage a point for Eastern SC.

Resources Capital FC (RCFC), meanwhile, made it two wins on the trot by defeating Southern District FC 1-0. Having beaten Happy Valley AA last week, Carles Tena's penalty kick in the 78th minute against Southern District meant maximum points again.

TSW Pegasus FC moved up to third in the standings as Brazilian striker Nilson's goal in the 17th minute proved to be enough to beat Happy Valley AA.

Lee Man FC and Hong Kong Rangers FC closed off the week with a 0-0 draw.

Japan: Kawasaki Frontale lead, Nagoya Grampus surge

Plenty of action took place in Japan as the J1 League hopefuls played two matchdays, with Kawasaki Frontale staying top despite losing their perfect record.

The defending champions five-match winning streak was halted as Vissel Kobe's Ryuho Kikuchi cancelled out Leandro Damião's opener with his strike deep in added time to salvage a 1-1 draw.

Toru Oniki's charges, however, returned stronger four days later to beat Urawa Red Diamonds 5-0, with five different scorers etching their names on the scoresheet.

Nagoya Grampus, meanwhile, displayed fine form as they Yokohama FC and Kashima Antlers to move to within a point of Kawasaki with a match in hand.

An impressive second half performance saw Nagoya beat Yokohama FC 3-0 last Wednesday, with Nako Maeda, Mateus dos Santos Castro and Ryogo Yamasaki finding the back of the net.

Nagoya maintained their fine form to beat Kashima Antlers 1-0 on Sunday, courtesy of Sho Inagaki's 59th minute goal to remain the only team yet to drop points.

Daichi Hayashi was the star for Sagan Tosu, as the 23-year-old forward struck twice in the 2-0 win over Kashiwa Reysol 2-0, but were then held 0-0 by Avispa Fukuoka. Sagan Tosu are third on 13 points.

Cerezo Osaka beat Oita Trinita 1-0, thanks to Tatsuhiro Sakamoto's 87th minute goal, but were then held 0-0 by Shonan Bellmare four days later.

A pair of wins over the course of the week saw Sanfrecce Hiroshima move up to fifth, overcoming Shimizu S-Pulse 1-0 before defeating Oita Trinita 3-1.

FC Tokyo were one of the week's biggest movers, jumping up from 10th to sixth, as head coach Kenta Hasegawa's side secured back-to-back wins.

In a back-and-forth encounter with Shonan Bellmare, FC Tokyo came from a goal down to emerge 3-2 victors, thanks to Tsuyoshi Watanabe's 81st minute winner.

FC Tokyo then recorded another comeback win against Vegalta Sendai, triumphing 2-1 on Sunday.

Korea Republic: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors take top spot, FC Seoul on the rise

The 2021 K League 1 is evolving into an exciting season, as the title race continues with several teams in the fray.

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors took the lead in the standings at the end of the week after surviving a late Daegu revival to emerge 3-2 winners, before being denied a win at home when Kim Geon-ung struck in the 90th minute to salvage a 1-1 draw for Suwon.

One of the main highlights from the two-matchday week was FC Seoul's rise to second place from sixth after recording consecutive wins.

Ki Sung-yueng was a standout performer for FC Seoul when he etched his name on the scoresheet in a 2-1 win against Gwangju FC, before scoring once more alongside Park Jung-bin to beat Suwon Samsung Bluewings 2-1 four days later.

Ulsan Hyundai FC, meanwhile, struggled as they dropped to third in the standings. Head coach Hong Myung-bo's side were unable to beat Jeju United goalkeeper Oh Seung-hoon as both teams settled for a 0-0 draw.

Their bleak week continued against Daegu FC, where they first broke the deadlock through Dave Bulthuis in the 72nd minute, but Lee Byung-keun's side bounced back with Lee Keun-ho and Brazilian striker Cessinha scoring for a 2-1 Daegu triumph.


Photo: K League Photos

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