Domestic Leagues

East Asia Wrap: Kawasaki go top as fans return in Japan

Kuala Lumpur: Kawasaki Frontale secured their third successive win since the J.League's resumption after seeing off Kashiwa Reysol 3-1 on Saturday to move top in a weekend that also saw a limited number of fans allowed back into stadiums.

In Korea Republic, Ulsan Hyundai jumped above Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors after the defending champions dropped points for the second week in a row, while preparations continue ahead of the Chinese Super League's kick off later this month.

Elsewhere, the second round of fixtures took place in Mongolia last week, so join as we review the best of the action from across East Asia.

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Japan: Kawasaki go top, Urawa keep the pace

Akihiro Ienaga bagged a brace and Leandro Damiao added a third as Kawasaki Frontale claimed a 3-1 win over Kashiwa Reysol on Saturday to jump to the top of the J.League standings and condemn their opponents to a third successive defeat.

The weekend's action in Japan was also notable as fans were welcomed back in a reduced capacity. Following the government's relaxing of certain COVID-19 restrictions, a maximum of 5,000 supporters were allowed to enter stadiums, where they remained socially distanced, had to wear masks and were not permitted to sing or chant.

Urawa Red Diamonds' strong start to the season continued, meanwhile, as they edged Kashima Antlers 1-0 thanks to a solitary goal from Ewerton to mean they stay level on points with Kawasaki at the summit, while Kashima remain rooted to the bottom and still in search of their first points.

Leading the way going into the weekend, Cerezo Osaka dropped points for the first time this season, going down 2-0 at home to Nagoya Grampus, who are unbeaten after four games and up to fifth.

The top two from 2019, Yokohama F.Marinos and FC Tokyo, also faced off on Sunday and it was the capital city side who came out on top, with Leandro scoring just before half-time and just after as they came from a goal down to run out 3-1 winners and rise to fourth.

Gamba Osaka moved to sixth as Kazuma Watanabe notched a late winner to see off Shimizu S-Pulse 2-1, while Sanfrecce Hiroshima fell to seventh after a 0-0 stalemate against Sagan Tosu. Elsewhere, Vissel Kobe drew 1-1 with Oita Trinita and the game between Shonan Bellmare and Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo ended goalless.

Korea Republic: Ulsan leapfrog Jeonbuk

Ulsan Hyundai moved to the top of the K League as top scorer Junior Negrao continued his red-hot form by adding two more goals to his tally in a 3-1 victory over Daegu FC on Sunday.

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors had led going into the weekend but dropped points for the second successive week. Two down at home to Seongnam FC, however, the Jeonju side did manage to earn a 2-2 draw after second-half goals from Han Kyo-won and Lee Seung-gi.

After winning four on the bounce, third-placed Sangju Sangmu narrowly missed out on extending their run as Ji Eon-hak scored a stoppage-time equaliser to salvage a 1-1 draw for bottom side Incheon United, who halted a run of eight consecutive defeats but remain in search of a first win.

One of the form teams of the K League, Busan IPark made it three successive wins as quickfire second-half goals from Kwon Hyeok-kyu and Lee Dong-jun helped overcome FC Seoul 2-0.

The leading marksman from 2019, Adam Taggart, was on the scoresheet as Suwon Samsung Bluewings drew 1-1 at Pohang Steelers, while Gangwon ended their four-game losing streak by seeing off Gwangju 4-1.

China: Fellaini back in action for Shandong

As the 2020 Chinese Super League kick-off draws ever closer, teams are picking up their preparations and while Shandong Luneng went down 4-1 in a friendly against Shijiazhuang Everbright, there was more positive news regarding their Belgian midfielder Marouane Fellaini.

Having made a full recovery after being diagnosed with COVID-19 earlier in the year, Fellaini was back in action for Shandong, scoring the Jinan side's only goal in the defeat.

With the rejigged 2020 league campaign to be held in the two host venues of Dalian and Suzhou, Shandong will play their games in Dalian alongside defending champions Guangzhou Evergrande.

Mongolia: Khangarid, SP Falcons stay perfect

While there were no games in Mongolia at the weekend, there was a full set of fixtures last week as Khangarid and SP Falcons made it two wins from two to set the pace at the top.

Khangarid scored nine without reply to condemn Sumida Gepro to a second successive defeat on Wednesday while SP Falcons ran out 5-0 winners over UB Mazaalaynuud.

Defending champions Ulaanbaatar City drew 1-1 with Khaan Khuns Erchim, Athletic 2020 beat Anduud City 3-0 and Ulaanbaatar edged Deren 2-1.


Photo: Kawasaki Frontale

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