Late goals and shining stars
The status quo remained unchanged in Japan despite last minute drama for the leading duo, while there were no such concerns for the front-runners in China PR, Korea Republic or Iran. A host of big-names signings continue to make headlines in Qatar’s fledgling season amid an avalanche of goals, while the season concluded in Fiji with a familiar name on the trophy.
Japan’s J.League: Crucial goals and heavy wins
Last minute goals and one-sided victories stole the headlines as the final stages of the Japanese league season slowly comes into view. Sanfrecce Hiroshima maintained a two-point margin at the top, with 26 of the 34 rounds now played, thanks only to a remarkable 93rd-minute winner from Ryota Moriwaki in a 2-1 victory over 2010 champions Nagoya Grampus. It was a similar story for second-placed Vegalta Sendai who edged Vissel Kobe by the same scoreline in stunning fashion, as Jiro Kamata scored the decisive late goal with an overhead kick.
Big game: Fifth from bottom Cerezo Osaka eased some of their relegation concerns with a see-saw 3-2 victory over Shimizu S-Pulse. Simplicio secured three points with a late winner for his first J.League goal since arriving from Roma.
Headline-grabber: Omiya Ardija and Gamba Osaka scored spectacular away wins as a tense relegation battle continues to rage. Omiya crushed Consadole Sapporo 5-0 on the road to leave the Hokkaido side all but mathematically relegated. Gamba’s win was even more remarkable as they departed Saitama with 5-0 win over high-flying Urawa Red Diamonds, thanks to doubles from Brazilians Leandro and Paulinho.
China PR's Super League: Guangzhou move four clear
With runners-up Jiangsu Sainty's fixture against Changchun Yatai postponed until Monday, Guangzhou Evergrande took full advantage to extend their lead to four points courtesy of a 3-1 home triumph over Dalian Shide. Beijing Guoan, meanwhile, recorded a spirited 2-0 win against Guizhou Renhe which left them level with third-placed Guangzhou R&F on points, but trailing on goal difference. At the opposite end of the table, a 2-1 loss at Dalian Aerbin left Qingdao Jonoon bottom of the table, while struggling Henan Construction kept their survival hopes alive with a 3-1 defeat of R&F.
Big match: Dario Conca scored once and provided a match-winning assist as Guangzhou outmuscled eight-time champions Dalian Shide. The result provided Marcello Lippi's side with a timely boost heading into next week's AFC Champions League quarter-final second leg against Al Ittihad.
Headline-grabber: Former Barcelona midfielder Seydou Keita struck in each half as Aerbin edged bottom side Qingdao 2-1 at home. The result extends Aerbin’s unbeaten run to six matches as they moved into the top six.
Iran's Pro League: Naft maintain slim advantage
Last season's fifth-place finishers Naft Tehran continued their surprising form, edging Saba Battery 1-0 at home to maintain a one-point cushion at the summit. Hot on their heels are defending champions Sepahan, who ran out 2-0 winners in the derby against Persepolis. Level with Sepahan on points are Saipa, who overcame Peykan 2-1, while Teraktor Sazi put five unanswered goals past newly-promoted Gahar Zagros to move into the top four.
Big match: Persepolis entered their 53rd meeting with Sepahan boasting a clear historic edge with five more wins. However, the hosts cut the deficit to four thanks to a victory secured by second-half strikes from midfielder Adel Kolahkaj and Albanian forward Xhevahir Sukaj.
Headline-grabber: 2010 AFC Champions League runners-up Zob Ahan continued their dramatic form slump with a 1-0 defeat at Mes, leaving them rooted to the bottom of the table.
Star attacking imports continue to make headlines in Qatar, with Al Sadd’s Raul bagging a double - his first Qatari league goals - in a 5-2 victory at Qatar SC. Despite the goal avalanche, the reigning Asian champions sit behind Al Rayyan and Al Wakra on goal difference, with all three maintaining a perfect record after two rounds. Leaders Rayyan were emphatic 5-0 victors over Umm Salal, with Brazilian Nilmar hitting a treble to take his place at the top of the league's scoring chart. Wakra also impressed on the road putting three unanswered goals past Al Siliya, with Iraq icon Younis Mahmoud twice on the scoresheet.
In Korea Republic, FC Seoul edged an entertaining 3-2 win over Pohang Steelers thanks to a Dejan Damjanovic brace. Jeonbuk Motors remain five points off the pace despite a 2-1 comeback victory against Gyeongnam, while Ulsan Hyundai Horangi are in third after a 2-2 stalemate against Busan I’Park.
The season concluded in Fiji with Ba the champions for the 18th time, extending their own record. The Men in Black ended with a 1-0 win on the road at Tavua, having been crowned in the penultimate round with a stunning 4-0 win over second-placed Suva to open up an unassailable six-point margin. Suva bounced back in the final round to defeat Labasa 2-1 and hold off the challenge of Nadi to secure their position as runners-up.