Domestic Leagues

East Asia Wrap: Kitchee crowned Hong Kong champions

Hong Kong: A nail-biting climax to the Hong Kong Premier League saw Kitchee SC lift the title on the final day of the 2019-2020 season as fellow contenders Eastern Long Lions and R&F drew. 

The international break meant there were no fixtures in the top flights in Korea Republic and China PR, but there was a full set of matches in Japan and Chinese Taipei so join as we wrap up the best of the domestic action from across East Asia.

Tell us who impressed you the most in the latest round of fixtures by casting your vote at the bottom of the article.

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Hong Kong: Third title in four years for Kitchee

It was a day of drama in Hong Kong on Sunday with three sides all in contention as the Hong Kong Premier League went down to the wire.

Going into the weekend, Eastern Long Lions were top and facing off against third-placed R&F while second-placed Kitchee took on bottom side Happy Valley. All three could have still claimed the league with a win in their respective matches and results going their way in the other tie.

But as it transpired it was Kitchee, courtesy of a Wellingsson de Souza hat-trick that got the vital win in a 4-0 victory, while Eastern and R&F could only share the points in a goalless stalemate.

The results saw Kitchee finish top on 20 points, one ahead of Eastern with R&F in third on 18, after the abridged season finished with just six teams following a lengthy delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kitchee are now set to represent Hong Kong in the 2021 AFC competitions and boss Ken Ng Kin believed there are plenty of positive prospects at the club who will benefit from the experience.

“We have some very good young guns and they are now coming through the ranks after their baptism this season," said Ng. "We will have to continue to give them opportunities next season to give the club and Hong Kong football a better future."

Japan: Chasing pack falter as Kawasaki look uncatchable

As if Kawasaki Frontale's lead at the top of the J1 League wasn't initmidating enough going into last weekend, both of their closest rivals, FC Tokyo and Cerezo Osaka, lost on Saturday while Toru Oniki's side registered their 10th league win in succession.

Just three days earlier, Frontale had been stunned by FC Tokyo in the J.League Cup, but there was no hangover from the result for the league leaders as Yu Kobayashi's goal was enough to edge them past Vegalta Sendai at Todoroki Stadium.

FC Tokyo, meanwhile, were on the other end of the same scoreline as they lost to Gamba Osaka, now in fourth, whose city neighbours were also beaten 1-0 by the team in fifth, Nagoya Grampus.

Yokohama F. Marinos are in sixth after a comfortable 4-0 win over Oita Trinita, but their fellow 2020 AFC Champions League participants, Vissel Kobe, conceded four as they lost 4-3 to Kashiwa Reysol in a seven-goal thriller at Kashiwa Stadium.

Chinese Taipei: Big win for Tainan City in title race

With the league in Chinese Taipei entering the business end of the season the clash between top-three sides Tainan City and Taichung Futuro could have ramifications for the title, and it was the side from the southern city who came out on top edging Taichung 2-1 courtesy of a last-minute goal from Haitian forward Benchy Estama.

The result sees Estama and his team go three points clear ahead of Taipower, who defeated Taipei Red Lions 1-0, with Taichung six points further back in third.

Hang Yuen edged a five-goal thriller against Ming Chuan University, while defending champions Tatung are back in fifth after a 3-1 win over TSU FC.

Poll ends at 15:00 (UTC +8) on October 16.


Photos: Kitchee SC

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