The major leagues of the Far East are entering their final stages and the weekend saw Jeju United progress to the K-League Championship final, while three Japanese giants were left battling for the right to secure a top-three berth alongside winners Nagoya Grampus. There is also a look at the leagues in Australia, Iran and New Zealand as part of FIFA.com’s new weekly review of action across Asia and Oceania.
Korea Republic K-League: Holders stumble at semis
Jeonbuk Motors' hopes of their second K-League title ended in heart-break as the defending champions lost 1-0 to Jeju United on Sunday in the one-off semi-final clash. Progression to the final means Jeju is a step closer to claiming their first domestic laurels since 1989. Awaiting them is a two-legged tie on 1 and 5 December against the regular season winners FC Seoul.
Big game: Despite the failure to defend their title, Jeonbuk will take solace from their solitary-goal triumph over Seongnam Chunma in the second round on Wednesday which not only booked their place in the semi-final, but also earned them a ticket to the 2011 AFC Champions League. In a re-match to last year's Championship final, it was Jeonbuk that once again had the final say as Cho Sung-Hwan heading home the only goal on 22 minutes.
Headline-grabber: Jeju reconfirmed their status as the regular season's second-best performers throughout the regular season by setting up the final meeting with pace-setters FC Seoul. The former are determined to get their hands on the trophy for the second time, while for the latter it will be a fourth league title should they prevail.
Japanese J.League: Continental berths on the line
With Nagoya Grampus sealing the J.League title over a week ago, attention has now turned to which sides can claim a top-three berth and with it AFC Champions League qualification. Former Asian champions Gamba Osaka lost 2-0 away at Yokohama F. Marinos in the weekend’s penultimate round to lose a grip on second spot to seven-time winners Kashima Antlers. Last season's champions enjoyed a 2-1 home victory over Kyoto Purple Sanga to edge clear of Gamba on goal difference.
Big game: A point shy of third are Cerezo Osaka, who maintained their hopes of continental football next year by battering hosts Shonan Bellmare 4-0 on Sunday. It took the visitors 53 minutes to break the deadlock courtesy of Yusuke Maruhashi's long-range effort, but two goals in the space of three minutes from Brazilian pair Amaral and Martinez put the game beyond any doubt, before Akihiro Sakata gifted Cerezo their fourth with an own goal two minutes from time.
Headline-grabber: With Kyoto and Shonan both relegated several weeks ago, the third and final team destined for the drop will be fought out between Vissel Kobe and FC Tokyo, who are now left languishing third and fourth from the bottom respectively. Despite being held to a 1-1 draw by Montedio Yamagata, the latter enter the concluding round a point clear of the former, who recorded a 1-0 home win over Shimizu S-Pulse on Saturday.
Australia A-League: Top two maintain winning ways
Brisbane Roar maintained a six-point margin at the summit after notching an A-League record 14 matches without defeat thanks to a 5-1 demolition of title hopefuls Central Coast Mariners. The Roar raced to a 3-0 lead inside the opening 25 minutes to rout the fourth-placed Mariners and ruin their solid home record. At the other end of table, North Queensland Fury were unable to lift themselves from bottom spot after being held 1-1 at home by a nine-man Perth Glory. The visitors’ goal was scored by Robbie Fowler lifting the Englishman into an equal lead at the top of the goalscoring charts.
Big game: Second-placed Adelaide United met third-placed Gold Coast United with the former triumphing 2-1 at home to stay six points off pacesetters Brisbane. Adelaide skipper Travis Dodd netted a second-half winner as Gold Coast lost the league’s only unbeaten away record.
Headline-grabber: Melbourne Victory's Archie Thompson became the first player to notch 50 A-League goals in scoring his team’s first in a 2-2 draw at Wellington Phoenix. It was also the first time the former Australia striker had netted since returning from an eight-month lay-off following knee surgery.
Having lost 3-1 to Seongnam Chunma in the recent AFC Champions League final, emerging Iranian power Zob Ahan when top spot in the Iran Pro League was seized by Esteghlal, who moved a point clear courtesy of their 1-0 victory away to Malavan.
Waitakere United maintained a perfect start to their New Zealand Football Championship campaign thanks to a 2-1 win over Canterbury United with the perennial title-challengers already seven points clear after just five rounds. The result allowed Hawke’s Bay United to leapfrog Canterbury into second after a dramatic 2-2 against a nine-man Auckland City, who threw away a two-goal half-time lead.