Domestic Leagues

East Asia Wrap: Wuhan Zall fans in emotional return to the stands

Hong Kong: For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, Wuhan Zall fans, the Chinese Super League club from the epicentre, were able to watch their team on Sunday, symbolic of the country's recovery from coronavirus.

In Korea Republic, there were some intriguing results at the top of the table in K League 1, while Kawasaki Frontale continue to dominate in Japan with another noteworthy scalp.

And in the Mongolian Premier League there was a huge first versus third match on Sunday as Khangarid took on Khaan Khuns - Erchim, so join as we wrap up the best of the action from across East Asia.

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China PR: Tears of joy for Wuhan

Tears for Wuhan would have meant something very different for much of 2020, but on Sunday they were shed in joy by 300 Wuhan Zall supporters who marked their return to the stands for the first time as their side came back from 2-0 down to secure a 2-2 draw with title aspirants Beijing FC.

The fans made the 450-mile trip from their home city to Suzhou - one of the two hosts of the 2020 Chinese Super League - as the CSL begins to slowly open up to a limited number of spectators, having originally operated a closed door policy.

Their efforts were rewarded by goals from Brazilian Leo Baptistao and Jean Evrard Kousassi of the Ivory Coast who cancelled out Beijing's 2-0 half-time lead.

"When the two foreign players scored and we equalised, we couldn't help but burst into tears in the stands," Wuhan supporter Gao Yajun told AFP.

"We are really happy, and I feel maybe tonight we won't sleep again."

There was plenty of action elsewhere, too, as Guangzhou Evergrande edged Guangzhou R&F in the city derby to maintain their hold of top spot in Group A, while Jiangsu FC's 1-0 win over Shandong Luneng saw them leapfrog the Jinan side into second spot.

In Group B, Shanghai SIPG's first loss of the season, a 2-0 defeat to Hebei CFFC, saw them fail to extend their lead at the top of the standings, with both Beijing and Wuhan edging a point closer.

Korea Republic: Top two drop points

Having been stunned by Gangwon last week, defending K League 1 champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors were again on the receiving end of a shock loss this time to eighth placed Seongnam in a 2-0 defeat on Saturday.

League leaders Ulsan Hyundai, however, failed to take full advantage when they could only draw 1-1 with Gwangju, although they did extend the gap to five points as a result.

Sangju Sangmu continue to surprise, meanwhile, as they maintained their third place position with a 1-0 win over Suwon Samsung Bluewings on Friday, while in the battle for fourth Pohang Steelers edged Daegu in a rollercoaster five-goal thriller, winning 3-2 on Saturday.

Meanwhile Incheon United's recent renaissance continues as they picked up their third win in the last four matches. They had previously gone their first 15 matches of the 2020 season without registering a victory.

Japan: Frontale sweep aside Marinos

Another day, another win for imperious-looking Kawasaki Frontale as the 2020 frontrunners cruised past defending champions Yokohama F. Marinos 3-1 in the J1 League on Saturday.

Marinos did open the scoring after just two minutes via Marcos Junior, but Frontale, who average close to three goals scored per game, are hard to keep out, and a brace from Kaoru Mitoma and an Akihiro Ienga strike put them on top.

Cerezo Osaka are still the team most likely to challenge Frontale and the Kansai club enjoyed an impressive 3-0 win over traditional powerhouse Urawa Red Diamonds to maintain their chase at the top.

FC Tokyo remain third after a 1-0 away win at Oita Trinita, while fourth-placed Nagoya Grampus lost to Kashima Antlers, who picked up their third win in a row.

Kashiwa Reysol, who occupy fifth spot, edged Shimizu S-Pulse 2-1 after goals from Hiroto Goya and Ataru Esaka.

Mongolia: Khangarid's lead cut as hunt heats up

Khaan Khuns-Erchim's dramatic 1-0 win over frontunners Khangarid on Sunday has changed the entire dynamic of the 2020 season in Mongolia as the leaders are now just two points ahead of Athletic 220 and Erchim.

Second placed Athletic 220 defeated Ulaanbaatar City 3-0 on Saturday, while Falcons, in fourth, crushed Anduud City 8-2 over the weekend. Deren, who occupy fifth spot, also enjoyed a big win on Friday as they trounced Sumid Gepro 5-0.

All eyes now will be on Wednesday's fixtures with Athletic 220 set to face Erchim in a match that could have ramifications for the title chase.


Photos: AFP

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