It proved to be a weekend of celebrations across Asia, with Kelantan retaining the Malaysian Super League and Korea Republic's legendary custodian Kim Byung-Ji setting a new goalkeeping record with Gyeongnam. Meanwhile, honours were even in China, with five games ending in draws. Narrow wins were the order of the day in the J.League, with Urawa Reds surviving a second-half onslaught to edge Sagan Tosu, while an own-goal secured Nagoya Grampus Eight a surprise win against champions Kashiwa Reysol. Join FIFA.com as we review the action in detail.
Japan's J.League: Favourites prevail as strugglers' misery lingers
There were no big surprises in the J-League, with pace-setters Vegalta Sendai maintaining their lead at the top with a 1-0 win at Vissel Kobe while second place Sanfrecce Hiroshima saw off Jubilo Iwata 2-0 at home. At the other end of the table, bottom side Consadole Sapporo continued their miserable run by falling 1-0 to Albirex Niigata and a 3-2 loss at FC Tokyo left Gamba Osaka still three points adrift of safety.
Big match: Third-placed Urawa Reds maintained their place among the chasing pack by edging Sagan Tosu in a seven-goal thriller at home. After being 4-0 up after 54 minutes, the hosts were made to sweat with Min-Woo Kim pulling one back for the visitors before Naoyuki Fujita scored a brace to ensure a nervy finish.
Headline-grabber: The much-anticipated meeting between reigning champions Kashiwa Reysol and Nagoya Grampus Eight ended in surprising fashion, with a second-half own-goal by Hidekazu Otani sealing a 2-1 win for Nagoya to keep them in fourth place.
Korea Republic’s K-League: Underdogs have their day on the road
Third-placed Suwon Bluewings lost further ground on Jeonbuk Motors and FC Seoul after losing 3-0 at home to Gyeongnam. Pohang Steelers also suffered a 1-0 reversal to Sangju Sangmu at home, while Busan I’Park were defeated 2-1 in their own backyard against Incheon United. Seongnam Chunma salvaged a 1-1 draw with struggling Chunnam Dragons, and Daegu needed a 93rd minute equaliser from Song Je-Heon to draw with Gwangju.
Big game: Once again, Gyeongnam proved to be Suwon’s nemesis. Their run of nine wins and a draw came to en end as the Bluewings claimed their third straight away win in Suwon. Kim In-Han struck twice and Caique added another in the comprehensive victory, which saw veteran goalkeeper Kim Byung-Ji extended his clean sheet tally to 202 by saving a last-minute penalty from Lee Sang-Ho.
Headline-grabber: Korea Republic No1 Jung Sung-Ryong is undergoing one of the toughest moments of his career. Having conceded five goals at Pohang last week, the Suwon custodian was again on the wrong side of a 3-0 scoreline against Gyeongnam.
China's Super League: Top two drop points
Draws dominated C-League's Round 16 this weekend, with five of the seven matches ending in stalemate. Both leaders Guangzhou Evergrande and second place Jiangsu Sainty dropped points. The former were denied their 12th victory at Shanghai Shenxin with Anselmo scoring an injury-time penalty to cancel out Muriqui's opener for Guangzhou, while the latter twice threw away their lead as they were held by Shanghai Shenhua 2-2. One of this round's two victors, Beijing Guoan, moved into third with a single goal win over Guangzhou R&F but Guizhou Renhe slipped to fourth after losing 3-1 at Shangdong Luneng.
Big match: Languishing on the edge of the relegation zone, an Nicolas Anelka-led Shanghai Shenhua travelled to Jiangsu desperately seeking a win. The visitors, however, only evaded a defeat, with two second-half goals from Dai Lin and Moises earning them a hard-fought point. The result left the team and fans looking with renewed zest to the arrival of newly-signed Didier Drogba, who is expected to form a formidable attacking line-up alongside Anelka.
Headline-grabber: Former 1860 Munich midfielder Shao Jiayi broke his duck since his return to Beijing from Germany at the beginning of this year, heading home the only goal as his side edged R&F.
In Thailand, runaway leaders Muang Thong United continued their unbeaten run with a 1-1 draw at Chiangrai United but the result allowed Chonburi to close the gap to five points after defeating TTM Phichit with Fode Bangaly Diakite scoring the only goal deep into stoppage-time. Hot on their heels are defending champions Buriram PEA, who won 1-0 at Tot Cat to trail Chonburi by a single point.
In Malaysia, Kelantan completed their successful defence of the title, thrashing Perak 6-0 to build their unassailable lead at the top with seven points clear of Singapore LionsXII. Striking-ace Indra Putra Mahayuddin netted a treble and captain Badri Radzi, Mohammed Ghaddar and Nurul Azwan were also on target at the holders retained the championship in eye-catching fashion. In doing so they became only the third team to defend the title after Kedah and Selangor.
In Iraq, runners-up Duhok were held to a 1-1 draw by Al Nafit at home, allowing Al Talaba to move level with them on 61 points following beating Al Sinaa by 1-0. Despite sitting out the weekend, Arbil remain at the top of standings with five points clear and a victory at Al Zawraa today can further cement their place at the summit.