Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

China: Shandong Luneng secure third title in five years

Posted in Asian Football by peterbein on November 9, 2010
Han Peng

Han Peng's goals proved vital in Shandong Luneng's title win

Shandong Luneng have won their third Chinese Super League title in the last five years after beating nearest challengers Tianjin Teda to the 2010 championship crown by a distant thirteen points. It proved to be a stroll in the end for Shandong who were unbeaten in their last eleven games of the league season which allowed them to build such a substantial gap as other teams around them were dropping points.

Shandong Luneng were able to top the standings thanks mainly to the goals from Chinese international Han Peng. He has been a consistent performer for the club in recent seasons and managed to score a hat-trick on the last day of the season in a 5-2 drubbing of third place Shanghai Shenhua. Those goals took his tally to eighteen goals for this season which left him second in the goalscoring charts two behind Shanghai Shenhua’s Duvier Riascos. Other noteworthy performers for Shandong included Lebanese international Roda Antar who chipped in with eight goals from midfield and Zheng Zheng, a 23 year old left-back who has started in most games this season and scored three times.

Shandong Luneng qualify for the 2010 AFC Champions League along with Shanghai Shenhua, Tianjin Teda and Hangzhou Greentown whilst, at the bottom of the table, Chongqing Lifan and Changsha Ginde finished in the bottom two places which means they’ll be playing their football in China League One next season with Ghangzhou FC and Chengdu Blades replacing them in the upper house of Chinese football.

Asia: Season begins in Saudi Arabia; Leagues round-up

Posted in Asian Football by peterbein on August 16, 2010
T&T Ha noi

T&T Ha noi are the new champions of Vietnam

The new Saudi football season began and a new champion was crowned in Vietnam this weekend. In the meantime each of the three big Asian leagues in China, Japan and South Korea are now past the halfway point of their domestic championship seasons. Stoppage Time – International Football Blog reviews the latest developments from Asia.

The new 2010-11 season began in Saudi Arabia this weekend with everybody hoping to catch Al Hilal who won the league at a canter last season sealing the title by eleven points from nearest challengers Al Ittihad. Champions Al Hilal began their campaign of Sunday with a slender 1-0 win against newly promoted Al Taawon with Abdullatif Al Ghannam getting on the scoresheet. On Saturday night Al Ittihad were amongst the eight teams kicking off the new season and began with a 2-1 home win against Al Ittifaq who just survived a relegation battle last season and could find themselves involved at the bottom again this time. There were also wins for Al Quadisiya, Al Raed, Al Nasr and Al Ahli whilst the final game of the weekend saw a thrilling 3-3 draw between Al Wehda and Al Faysali.

T&T Hanoi are the new Vietnamese champions after securing the point they needed from their Matchday 25 game against already relegated Saigon. With two rounds of matches remaining T&T knew that one point from six would be enough to give them the championship and for coach Phan Thanh Hung, who took over from previous coach Nguyen Huu Thang at the start of the season, it was a fantastic way to end his first season at the helm and, as a result of the title success, T&T will get the chance to participate in the 2011 AFC Champions League qualifiers.

In China’s Super League Shandong Luneng remain in pole position (played 17, points 35) following a 2-1 win away at Chongqing Lifan with Deng Zhuoxiang and Julio César de León getting on the scoresheet to help the league leaders come from behind after Johnny Woodly Lambert had given the home side the lead. Shanghai Shenhua dropped two precious points in the title race and could only manage a 1-1 draw at Hangzhou Lucheng. After Duvier Riascos had given Shanghai the lead early in the second half Australian Adam Griffiths restored parity for the home side who drop from third to fourth place on the back of this result. Taking their place in third are Beijing Guo’an, the defending champions lie six points behind the league leaders after another Aussie international Ryan Griffiths, the aforementioned Adam’s brother, scored both goals in their 2-1 home win against Changchun Yatai.

Japan’s J-League remains very tight at the top with just six points separating the top four teams. League leaders Nagoya Grampus Eight (played 18, points 38) saw off the challenge of Urawa Red Diamonds by three goals to one with Keiji Tamada scoring twice for Dragan Stojković’s men. This win allowed Nagoya to climb above Shimuzu S-Pulse into first place as the latter went down to a 2-1 reverse at home to Yokohama F Marinos. Third place Kashima Antlers were three minutes away from gaining all three points against FC Tokyo but the visitors equalized in the 87th minute to prevent the defending J-League champions from claiming second spot in the table. Two goals in the second half from Yusuke Tasaka and Kengo Nakamura gifted three points to fourth place Kawasaki Frontale in their 2-0 home win against Sanfreece Hiroshima to leave them six points behind the league leaders.

In the South Korean K-League a top of the table clash saw Gyeongnam win a pulsating game against Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors by three goals to two. After Gyeongnam had gone three goals to the good just after the hour mark they began to get nervous as the match entered its closing stages and allowed visiting Jeonbuk to pull back two goals in the space of sixty seconds but Gyeongnam managed to hold out and secure three points which takes them clear at the top (played 16, points 34). Jeonbuk are three points further behind along with second place Jeju United, who have the better goal difference, despite losing 4-2 away at Chunnam Dragons. Asian champions Pohang Steelers are still recovering from a dreadful start on the domestic front and won their second consecutive game this weekend away at bottom team Daegu FC by two goals to nil with both strikes coming in stoppage time. The win lifts the Steelers to eleventh in the fifteen team league.

Asia: Too close to call in Big Three nations

Posted in Asian Football by peterbein on July 18, 2010
Kashima Antlers

Kashima Antlers remain on top of the J-League after a 2-1 win over Kawasaki Frontale

Things are getting interesting in the three biggest league championships of Asian football. Stoppage Time – International Football Blog highlights the latest developments in Japan, China and South Korea.

The top of the J-League table shows the top three teams separated by just two points after thirteen games. Champions Kashima Antlers are back on top of the table after a 2-1 win at home to Kawasaki Frontale with Jung Soo-Lee scoring the winning goal for Kashima in the 78th minute. Kawasaki had played with ten men for all of the second half after former Eintracht Frankfurt star Junichi Inamoto was sent off late in the first half and would eventually be made to pay after resisting the Kashima attack for so long. Shimuzu S-Pulse were top of the table before the weekend’s matches but drop into second place after a disappointing goalless draw at home to twelfth place Jubilo Iwata whilst Nagoya Grampus Eight closed the gap thanks to a Joshua Kennedy strike in the 76th minute to gain a slender 1-0 win over Omiya Ardija. Omiya are second bottom after Shonan Bellmare managed to jump from bottom (18th) place into 16th thanks to a 1-0 win away at Kyoto Sanga who now occupy the bottom spot thanks to that defeat.

In South Korea four points separate the top seven teams in another closely fought championship race. Ulsan Hyundai occupied the top spot before the weekend’s matches began but suddenly found themselves in fifth place after their 1-0 defeat at home to Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma. Jeju United are now at the top of the table following a 5-0 rout over second bottom club Gangwon FC. Seoul FC stay in third spot despite their 1-0 defeat away at Incheon United while Gyeongnam occupy fourth place after they defeated mid-table outfit Gwangju Sangmu 1-0. Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and Busan I’Park lie in sixth and seventh respectively having each put four goals past their hapless opponents. Jeonbuk beat lowly Daejeon Citizen 4-0 while Busan ensured that 2009 Asian Champions League winners Pohang Steelers remain in domestic despair following a 4-2 win. The Steelers are just two points and three places clear of bottom team Daegu FC as their K-League form remains in stark contrast to their performances at Asian level.

China’s Super League also sees a neatly bunched selection of clubs at the top of the table with six teams separated by four points. Shanghai Shenhua remain top despite dropping two points at home to fifth place Henan Jianye following a spectacular match which finished 3-3, the away side coming from 2-0 down to take the lead before Shanghai equalized fifteen minutes from time thanks to Duvier Riascos. This allowed Luneng Taishan to close the gap between themselves and Shanghai to just a point after they defeated Nanchang Bayi 1-0 with Zheng Zheng’s 55th minute goal enough to settle the match in Luneng’s favour. Hangzhou Greentown also remained in the running after a 2-0 victory over Shaanxi Chanba while Liaoning jump into fourth place on the back of a 2-1 win over Jiangsu Shuntian. Defending champions Beijing Guo’an missed the opportunity to close the gap and remain in sixth place following a heavy 3-0 defeat away at Dalian Shide