Domestic Leagues

East Asia Wrap: Suwon Samsung Bluewings stun Ulsan Hyundai

Hong Kong: In a result that could have ramifications for the K League 1 season, title contenders Ulsan were beaten 3-0 by Suwon Samsung Bluewings, while the top two in Japan also dropped points.

As well as a full set of domestic match fixtures from the Korea Republic and Japan 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: Bluewings soar over Ulsan

Suwon Samsung Bluewings ended their four-match winless run in style with a comprehensive 3-0 win over 2020 AFC Champions League winners Ulsan Hyundai on Sunday.

Kim Gun-hee, Kang Hyun-muk and Jeong Sang-bin were all on target as the Bluewings delivered a major early setback to Ulsan's hopes of challenging defending champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors for the 2021 K League 1 title.

Indeed, a Han Kyo-won winner ensured Jeonbuk took full advantage of their rivals dropping points with a 1-0 win over Seongnam FC that takes their lead at the top to six points.

Meanwhile, capital city club FC Seoul's season continues to worsen. A 1-0 defeat at home to Daegu FC makes it four defeats on the bounce, with neighbours Incheon United also losing on home turf with a 3-0 reverse to Jeju United, who move up to fourth place.

In the weekend's other ties, Suwon FC edged Gangwon FC 2-1, while Pohang Steelers took home the points after a trip to Gwangju FC ended in a 1-0 win for the visitors.

Japan: Frontale stumble but Nagoya unable to take advantage

Although Kawasaki Frontale have now extended their unbeaten run to 12 matches, a 1-1 draw at home to Sanfrecce Hiroshima was not the result they would have anticipated to mark the milestone.

Akihiro Ienaga was again on target, but his goal was cancelled out by Tsukasa Morishima's strike shortly after the hour mark. Second-placed Nagoya were best placed to take advantage of the uncharacteristic slip, but they were stunned by visitors Sagan Tosu in a 2-1 defeat at home.

Instead Sagan, who move into third, and Cerezo Osaka, 1-0 winners over Urawa Red Diamonds, are the two sides who have made a little headway into Frontale's early lead at the top.

Vissel Kobe round out the top five, but their goalless stalemate away at Shonan Bellmare leaves them with a tenuous grip on their place in the early J1 League standings with Yokohama F. Marinos hot on their heels after their 3-1 win over Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo on Friday.

Elsewhere there were wins from Kashima Antlers, Avispa Fukuoka and Kashiwa Reysol, while Yokohama FC and Vegalta Sendai and Gamba Osaka and Shimizu S-Pulse split the points.

Hong Kong: Hat-trick hero Damjanovic shows class is permanent

Continental football legend Dejan Damjanovic continues to belie his years as the 39-year-old netted a hat-trick to make it 10 goals in 10 games as Kitchee SC defeated Happy Valley 3-1 on Friday.

The second highest goalscorer in AFC Champions League history ensured that his club remain top of the Hong Kong Premier League, although title rivals Eastern SC stayed within striking distance after a late Fernando winner secured 3-2 comeback victory over Lee Man.

Meanwhile on Sunday, third-placed TSW Pegasus came out on top of a 3-2 scoreline against Resources Capital, while Southern District edged BC Rangers 2-1.

Chinese Taipei: Taipower stay perfect

Taipower continue to lead the way in the early rounds of the Chinese Taipei Premier League after they maintained their 100 percent record with a 1-0 win over rivals Tatung.

Champions Tainan City got their first win of the 2021 campaign after defeating Taipei Flight Skywalkers 3-1, while Hang Yuen FC edged Taichung Futuro by the game's only goal.

Rounding off the action on Sunday, newly promoted CPC FC drew 1-1 with TSU FC.

Macau: Benfica claim derby bragging rights

Macau's version of the Deby de Lisboa took place over the weekend as Benfica de Macau faced off against Sporting Club de Macau.

The tie, however, went overwhelmingly with current form with second-placed Benfica easing past their traditional rivals, who currently sit bottom without a win, by four goals to one.

In the weekend's other ties Ching Fung beat Hang Sai 5-0, C.P.K. put seven past Ka I, Lun Lok defeated Monte Carlo 4-1 and Policia drew 0-0 with Casa De Portugal.


Photo: Suwon Samsung Bluewings

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