Domestic Leagues

East Asia Wrap: Kawasaki Frontale set new unbeaten record after Sapporo win

Hong Kong: J1 League leaders Kawasaki Frontale marked a new milestone on Sunday as they extended their undefeated streak to 22 consecutive games, stretching back to last season, with a 2-0 win over Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo.

As well as a full set of domestic match fixtures from China PR and Korea Republic's top flights, there were also some big results in Hong Kong, so join as we review the action from across East Asia.

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Japan: Record-breakers Frontale keep on rolling

Goals from Kaoru Mitoma and Yu Kobayashi against Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo ensured Kawasaki Frontale made it 17 matches unbeaten in the 2021 season and 22 in total stretching back to last season, a record that eclipses the 21-match streak set by Omiya Ardija across the 2012 and 2013 campaigns.

The side in second, Nagoya Grampus, also enjoyed a win over the weekend with a comprehensive 3-0 victory against Shimizu S-Pulse although third-placed Sagan Tosu fell further behind in the title-race as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Oita Trinita.

Perhaps the most meaningful result in the championship hunt was, however, Yokohama F. Marinos' wild 5-3 defeat away at Kashima Antlers. Although currently in fourth, Marinos have played four matches less than Kawasaki and the defeat is a setback in their mission to reclaim the title they lifted in 2019.

It's a surprise name who rounds out the top five as Avispa Fukuoka, promoted from the J2 last season, have risen into fifth following their 1-0 victory away at Vegalta Sendai, their eighth straight match unbeaten in all competitions.

Korea Republic: Points shared as Ulsan held by Bluewings

Despite league leaders Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors sitting out the weekend's fixtures due to the postponement of their tie with FC Seoul, Ulsan Hyundai were unable to take advantage once more.

Indeed, the second-placed team were fortunate not to be leapfrogged by Sunday's visitors Suwon Samsung Bluewings, who had taken the lead through Uros Deric on five minutes. A Seol Yung-woo strike six minutes from time restored parity and a point, but Hong Myung-bo's side are two behind Jeonbuk going into their showdown in midweek.

With the top two out of sorts, it is Daegu FC, in fourth, who look the form team in the K League 1 as they registered their sixth consecutive win with a 2-1 scoreline away at Jeju United via goals from Kim Jin-hyuk and Jeong Seung-won, with Joo Min-kyu replying for the hosts to ensure a nervy finish.

In the weekend's other tie, Incheon United took all three points at the death when late-goal specialist Song Si-woo popped up to score a 90th-minute winner after Stefan Mugosa's 49th-minute strike had cancelled out Eom Wom-sang's opener to ensure a dramatic come-from-behind victory.

China PR: Oscar's brace keep Shanghai Port purring

Due to postponements, there were just four matches over the weekend in the Chinese top flight but once more it was Shanghai Port who lead the way after they made it five matches unbeaten with a win over Dalian Pro.

As so often has been the case since his move to the side from Chelsea FC, midfielder Oscar was the catalyst for their 3-0 victory with the Brazilian netting a brace following Lu Wenjun's 19th-minute opener.

On Friday, the weekend saw its most dramatic Chinese Super League fixture this season as Shenzhen FC shared a four-goal thriller with Shandong Taishan. Shenzhen's Hong Kong-born midfielder Dai Wai-tsun went toe-to-toe with Belgium star Marouane Fellaini of Shandong as both scored a brace in an enthralling 2-2 draw.

Also on Friday, Guangzhou City were held to a goalless stalemate by Cangzhou Mighty Lions, while Liu Jian scored a dramatic late winner to give Qingdao FC all three points over Chongqing Liangjiang a day later.

Hong Kong: Lee Man stun Kitchee SC to set up exciting finale

The opening weekend of the Championship Round in the Hong Kong Premier League did not disappoint as Lee Man stunned previously unbeaten Kitchee SC 1-0 to ensure the championship will be decided by a winner-takes-all match on May 23.

Gil's late goal, coupled with Eastern's comprehensive 4-0 win over TSW Pegasus, means that regardless of the midweek fixtures, the HKPL title will be decided in a final matchday showdown when Eastern face Kitchee.

Meanwhile, in the Relegation Round, BC Rangers eased to a 6-0 win over Resources Capital, while Southern District edged Happy Valley AA by a 2-1 scoreline.


Photo: Kawasaki Frontale

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