HONG KONG, May 29 (Reuters) – Talking points from the week in Asian football:
MUTO AT THE DOUBLE AS VISSEL KOBE MAINTAIN TWO POINT LEAD
Yoshinori Muto scored twice as Vissel Kobe held on to defeat FC Tokyo 3-2 on Saturday and maintain their two point lead at the top of the J.League standings.
The former Newcastle United striker volleyed in Kobe’s opener in the 20th minute before Yuya Osako doubled the lead with an improvised flick 21 minutes later.
Muto struck again a minute before the break to give Kobe a three-goal lead and, despite second half penalties from Diego Oliveira and Pedro Perotti, Takayuki Yoshida’s side held on to win.
Defending champions Yokohama F Marinos defeated Avispa Fukuoka to remain in second place on 30 points, a point ahead of third-placed Nagoya Grampus, who saw Kasper Junker and Mateus score in a 2-1 win over Consadole Sapporo.
JOO STRIKES LATE TO EARN LEADERS ULSAN DRAW WITH DAEJON
Defending champions Ulsan Hyundai failed to win for the first time in seven games as the K-League’s run-away leaders were held to a 3-3 draw by Daejon Hana Citizen on Sunday.
Daejon’s Leandro Ribeiro cancelled out an own goal by Kim Min-duk to level the scores after 25 minutes and a brace from Masatoshi Ishida before half time looked to be taking the visitors to victory.
But Joo Min-kyu struck twice in the final 12 minutes, including an 89th minute equaliser, as Hong Myung-bo’s side claimed a point that leaves Ulsan leading the standings by 11 points from FC Seoul and Jeju United.
FELIPE SCORES AS CHENGDU MOVE TO WITHIN THREE POINTS OF PORT
Chengdu Rongcheng moved to within three points of Chinese Super League leaders Shanghai Port on Saturday with a 1-0 win over Nantong Zhiyun thanks to a 72nd minute winner from Brazilian striker Felipe.
The victory moves Chengdu onto 20 points from 10 games and to within three points of Port, who can extend their lead to six points with a win over Changchun Yatai on Monday.
Shanghai Shenhua missed the opportunity to close the gap on the leaders when they shared a 1-1 draw with Henan FC, with Jiang Shenglong scoring eight minutes from time to salvage a point for Wu Jingui’s side.
MORIYASU RECALLS CELTIC’S FURUHASHI FOR JUNE FRIENDLIES
Japan manager Hajime Moriyasu ended Kyogo Furuhashi’s nine-month exile from his squad and called up the Celtic striker for next month’s friendlies against El Salvador and Peru.
Furuhashi, who was named the Scottish Premiership’s player of the year last week, had not been included in the Japan squad since September. The 28-year-old was one of three Celtic players in the squad along with Daizen Maeda and Reo Hatate.
Moriyasu also handed Ryoya Morishita, Sota Kawasaki and Takumu Kawamura their first international call-ups.
AL-ITTIHAD SECURE SAUDI TITLE TO DISAPPOINT RONALDO
Al-Ittihad were crowned Saudi Pro League champions for the ninth time after a 3-0 win at Al-Feiha on Sunday that broke a title drought going back to 2009.
A third minute strike by Ahmed Sharahili and two goals from Romarinho secured victory for Al-Ittihad, who made amends for losing the title on the final day of last season.
With one round remaining in the season, the Jeddah club have 69 points, five more than Cristiano Ronaldo‘s Al-Nassr, who drew 1-1 with Al-Ettifaq.
Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Nick Mulvenney and Raju Gopalakrishnan
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