It was a positive weekend for the leaders in both Japan and Korea Republic. Gamba Osaka and Nagoya Grampus were imperious in claiming comfortable victories, however Korea Republic’s Jeonbuk Motors and Pohang Steelers were made to work harder to maintain their status at the top. It was a similar scenario in Iran, while FIFA.com’s weekly review of domestic matters across Asia and Oceania includes silverware claimed in Cambodia and New Zealand.
Japan’s J.League: Front pair display dominance
Gamba Osaka and Nagoya Grampus recorded commanding victories with the duo only hitting the summit in recent weeks following the early-season form of Yokohama F Marinos and Kashiwa Reysol. Gamba have a one-point lead following a 4-0 win against Vissel Kobe, while defending champions Nagoya Grampus were equally impressive in seeing off Ventforet Kofu 4-1. Gamba sit a point clear of Nagoya, while Yokohama and Kashiwa are a further two points adrift.
Big game: A capacity crowd was on hand in Sendai for the Michinoku derby, as midtable Sendai triumphed 2-1 against struggling Montedio Yamagata to complete the double over their rivals. Sendai never looked back after taking a two-goal lead inside the opening 12 minutes, in a fixture that has grown further in importance following the earthquake and tsunami which struck the region in March.
Headline-grabber: Junya Tanaka took his season tally to ten with a brace as Kashiwa Reysol secured a dramatic 3-2 comeback victory over Kawasaki Frontale. The visitors led 2-0 until a dramatic last half-hour saw Kashiwa home.
Korea Republic’s K-League: Trio march on as sextet takes shape
Leaders Jeonbuk Motors and Pohang Steelers claimed hard-fought victories against Busan I'Park and Gyeongnam respectively, while FC Seoul kept up the pressure at the top with their seventh consecutive win over Gangwon. Suwon Bluewings, Chunnam Dragons and Busan are tied on 36 points, one point above Jeju United who dropped to seventh despite coming from two goals down to earn an unlikely draw at Gwangju. Meanwhile, Asian champions Seongnam Chunma revived their hopes of reaching the play-offs with a 1-0 victory at home against Daegu, having brushed aside Pohang 3-0 on Wednesday to reach the Korean FA Cup final.
Big game: Busan got off to a flying start against leaders Jeonbuk as in-form forward Han Sang-Wun scored his ninth goal of the season before the visitors restored parity with a volley from Chinese midfielder Huang Bowen. Han then turned provider for Fagner's goal right after the interval, but the Motors came back again through Lim You-Hwan's header with Jeong Shung-Hoon firing the winner against his former club to make it 3-2.
Headline-grabber: Seoul midfielder Mauricio Molina struck three times and set up as many goals in a 6-3 victory over Gangwon as the Colombian hotshot became the first player in the history of the K-League to complete a hat-trick of both goals and assists in a single game.
In Uzbekistan, Pakhtakor's recent woes continued as the Tashkent side managed only a goalless draw with struggling Metallurg Bekabad, following on from their 2-1 top-of-the-table defeat against leaders Bunyodkor the previous week. The result cost them second place with Nasaf edging ahead on goal difference with a 3-2 home triumph over Nawbahor Namangan.
In Iran, international striker Farhad Majidi struck twice as Esteghlal recorded a resounding 4-1 victory at Foolad to maintain their place at the summit. Saba Battery, meanwhile, suffered a 4-0 humiliation at Shahin to concede second place to Teraktor-Sazi, who crushed Shahrdari Tabriz 5-1 at home.
Phnom Penh Crown secured a second successive league title in Cambodia with a lone goal from Kingsley Njoku enough to defeat Preah Khan Reach in the penultimate round. The second-half winner from the Nigerian ensured Phnom Penh Crown maintained a four-point margin over Naga Corp, who were 4-1 victors over National Defence Ministry.
Wairarapa United are the newest name to be engraved on New Zealand’s historic Chatham Cup following a 2-1 win over regional rivals Napier City Rovers. Vanuatu international striker Seule Soromon opened the scoring in the first half, while Fijian Pita Rabo scored a late winner for a club that had never previously advanced beyond the last 16, to claim the 84th edition of the national knockout tournament.