Favourites drop points across Asia
The past week proved forgettable for a host of leading clubs across Asia. The top-placed teams from Japan and China dropped points to lose ground at the summit, while the K-League's defending champions Jeonbuk Motors conceded first place to FC Seoul after picking up a solitary point from their past two matches. Current Iranian champions Sepahan, meanwhile, were handed their second loss to slip to seventh. Join FIFA.com as we detail the disappointing defeats and wonderful wins.
Korea Republic’s K-League: Gyeongnam join top eight
Ninety minutes after the simultaneous kick-offs on Sunday evening, it was Gyeongnam who snatched the eighth and final ticket to the split by coming from behind to defeat Gwangju 2-1 at home. Incheon United, who had stormed into eighth place with five straight wins, narrowly missed out on goal difference after a goalless draw with Jeju United, while Daegu fell short, losing 2-0 at leaders FC Seoul. Seongnam Chunma were also denied a place in the top half as the seven-time champions were held to a 1-1 draw by Suwon Bluewings to remain on 11th place.
Big game: In a rematch of the 2006 AFC Champions League semi-final at the Munsu, hosts Ulsan Horangi took an early lead through Rafinha before substitute Kim Dong-Chan equalised for Jeonbuk Motors, as both sides failed to reduce the gap behind Seoul.
Headline-grabber: Flavio struck twice and set up Robert Cornthwaite’s winning goal, as Chunnam Dragons beat bottom club Gangwon 4-3 to get out of the relegation zone.
China's Super League: Jiangsu close on Guangzhou
The big names enjoyed differing form in this weekend's C-League as their respective sides received mixed results. Dario Conca missed a penalty while Muriqui rattled the woodwork as Guangzhou Evergrande were held to a goalless draw by Tianjin Teda at home, a result which allowed runners-up Jiangsu Sainty to cut the cushion on the leaders to three points with a 3-0 win at Henan Construction. Zlatan Muslimovic scored the only goal against Qingdao Jonoon as his Guizhou Renhe side maintained third-place while Guangzhou R&F moved into fourth with a 2-1 comeback win at Liaoning, with the in-form Yakubu Aiyegbeni twice on target.
Big game: Didier Drogba completed his first brace in China before Nicolas Anelka scored the equaliser as Shanghai Shenhua came from behind to draw 3-3 at Shandong Luneng. The outcome moved Shanghai into tenth place, a point clear of Shandong.
Headline-grabber: The foreign imports have dominated the league's scoring chart this season. Topping the scoring charts is Jiangsu's Cristian Danalache, whose brace against Henan extended his scoring tally to 20, while Dalian Aerbin's Peter Utaka is hot on the heels with 16.
Japan's J.League: Sanfrecce suffer shock defeat
The contention for the title intensified in the J.League this weekend, with a point separating the top three sides after Round 23. Leaders Sanfrecce Hiroshima suffered a 1-0 defeat at home to FC Tokyo on Saturday, with Brazilian striker Lucas Severino scoring the decisive goal just after half-time. Vegalta Sendai remained second with a 3-1 win at Omiya Ardija while third-placed Urawa Red Diamonds recorded a 2-0 away win over Shimizu S-Pulse.
Big game: Defending champions Kashiwa Reysol conceded fourth place to Jubilo Iwata after losing to the same opponents 3-0. With the resounding victory, Jubilo kept their title hopes alive.
Headline-grabber: Having opened the scoring in Gamba Osaka's 5-0 defeat of Nagoya Grampus Eight last week, Leandro went on to score a hat-trick as his side thrashed bottom club Consadole Sapporo 7-2. Returning to Gamba on loan in June, the Brazilian striker was instrumental as Gamba climbed to fourth from bottom.
In Iran, defending champions Sepahan suffered their second defeat in six matches, losing 1-0 at eight-placed Peykan. Saipa, meanwhile, edged Aluminum Hormozgan by the same scoreline to move to the top of the standings, three points clear of Sepahan. Elsewhere, the much-anticipated Tehran derby between Perspolis and Esteghlal ended goalless.
In Saudi Arabia, all eyes were on the titanic meeting between last season's winners Al Shabab and runners-up Al Ahli. A 2-2 draw proved to be a fair result for the two rivals, with Al Ahli twice battling from behind to earn a share of the spoils against the hosts. The result maintained Al Shabab's place at the top leading both Al Ittihad and Al Fath on goal difference.
There was the top-of-the-table contest in Thailand, with runaway leaders Muang Thong United visiting runners-up Chonburi. Muang Thong's Thailand international Teerasil Dangda struck the equaliser 12 minutes from time to seal a 2-2 draw as his side kept their ten-point cushion at the top intact.