Welcome to the roundup of the East Asian zone. Here you’ll find a comprehensive roundup off all the leagues that are currently in season, except for the leagues that have their own roundups, those went up yesterday and you can read all about the leagues in China, Japan and South Korea by clicking on the links. There is also nothing from Mongolia quite yet as they haven’t started their league season, but hopefully, that isn’t too far away.
Hectic schedule in the opening of the Taiwan season
In Taiwan, or Chinese Taipei as they are known at sporting events due to political matters I’m not going to get into here (Google it yourself if you want), matches are almost constantly going on in the Taiwan Premier League, with matches being played every other day. On Sunday TSU whooped bottom of the table Taicheng Lions 8-2 while Tainan City beat HangYuen 1-0 and reigning champions and current league leaders after three matches, Taipower beat NSTC 5-0.
Earlier today, Tainan City and TSU played and TSU won comfortably 2-0 in the end. But the game was not without drama. Tainan won a penalty after 50 minutes with the score still 0-0, and the TSU goalkeeper saved it. However, he had stepped off his line before the penalty was taken and the linesman correctly signalled for the penalty to be retaken (really nice to see that rule finally being enforced properly). The second penalty effort hit the post, bounced off the goalkeepers back and stopped in the mud in front of goal just shy of going in! Imagine what the outcome of the match could have been had one of those efforts gone in.
Finally, matches between Tatung and NSTC and Taipower and Royal Blues will be played tomorrow.
A league with amazing names and blowout results
It’s not any less hectic over on the island of Guam where pretty much the same schedule is being used, football every other day. On Friday Pago Bay Crushers got crushed (I’m sorry) by NAPA Rovers, 17-0 while the brilliantly named FC Beercelona lost 5-0 to the equally great named, Lots of Art Heat. On Saturday, Bank of Guam Strykers lost 2-1 to Bank of Guam 2 (I swear I’m not making this up), while University of Guam Tritons beat EuroCar FC 4-0.
In Sunday’s match league leaders Isla De Ladrones beat Familia FC 15-0. It’s a difference in quality in Guam and while league leaders IDL are undefeated after 14 games with 104-15 in goal difference and 42 points, it’s different in the bottom where Crushers are on three points and Pago Bay Disasters are just that, with four points. Both teams have -104 in goal difference after 12 and 15 games respectively. They’ve scored 8 and 16 but also let in 109 and 117 goals in those games.
Could we be in for an undefeated season in Hong Kong?
That is the main question everyone asks themselves as HK powerhouse Kitchee have yet to lose after 16 of 18 games and have long since claimed the title. There was no round scheduled this weekend and the next round will be played this week.
There was actually one game played this weekend however, a delayed Round 5 game between R&F and Hong Kong Rangers and while that might not seem like a big deal it actually was. R&F ended up winning 3-1, but had Rangers, who are rock bottom of the table, won that match they would have had the possibility to get a total of 13 points, if they had then won their final two matches. If Dreams FC (or Hong Kong Sapling as they are also known) on the place above had lost both their games they would have had remained on 13 points and the league is decided on head-to-head. Dreams won the first meeting 1-0 but the second is yet to take place. That will happen on the final day. Imagine what a day that could have been, but now due to R&F’s win, that game will not matter as Rangers have officially been relegated with that loss.
Benfica are champions in Macau, but could they also do an invincible season?
We are even closer to an undefeated league run in Macau where Benfica de Macau are only one game away from pulling off that feat. The dominant side in Macau, Benfica has won the league every single year since 2014, and managed an unbeaten run in 2016. Benfica have won the title this year too and like in Hong Kong there was a break this weekend before the final matches will be played at the end of this week.
The season is well underway in the world’s most closed-off country but results are hard to find
Football is also being played in North Korea, despite what many might think of the country. However, results aren’t that easy to get a hold off and the latest results available are from the eighth round of the newly renamed and reformatted DPRK Premier League back in March, but let’s run through them anyway shall we.
Third-placed Kigwancha beat Hwaebul 1-0 while league leaders Ryomyong beat Sobaeksu 1-0 and have a five-point gap down to reigning champion and all around North Korean powerhouse April 25. However, April 25 have three games in hand on Ryomyong and beat Wolmido a whopping 6-0. Amrokgang climbed a small way away from the immediate bottom of the table with a 2-0 win over second to last-placed Jebi while Pyongyang City wasted a good opportunity to do the same as they drew 1-1 with Rimyongsu who sit fourth. Mid-table side Kalmaegi in seventh also drew 1-1 with Sonbong who sit ninth. At the 13th, and lowest place in the league, we find Kyonggongop on two points and without a win this season. They had a bye this round.
A place full of great surprises
The time has come for the review of the Northern Mariana Islands. “Who?” you may ask. The Northern Mariana Islands is technically located in Oceania, like Guam, but play their football in the AFC as an associate member. They are not full FIFA members, but they keep plugging along with football in the 53 000 strong US Commonwealth and as an AFC associate country and participant in the East Asian Football Federation as well they deserve a spot in this roundup.
The league is called the M.League and is divided into a spring and fall season and consists of seven teams. The second division, the B Division, also has one of the biggest surprises I’ve had the pleasure to come across. The Northern Mariana Islands Under 16 Women’s National Team play in the men’s second division. I don’t care what level the football might be at, that is bloody impressive. They currently sit third in the six-team table and won their last game 3-2. You go girls!
Returning to the first division, they have played three or four games of the Spring Season so far, depending on who has had a bye in which round, due to the uneven number of teams. The latest results we have been able to confirm however, are from back in March. Since then the youth football seems to have taken hold of the FA’s attention with all of their info being about the Spring Youth League.
Let’s finally have a look at those results then. Second-placed TanHoldings beat Winners & Pacific Eco 6-1, guided by a Jershwin Angeles hat trick in the second half as well as a brace from Sean Perez. Okayda got their first win of the season after beating bottom of the league Kanoa 3-1 while Teen Ayuyu and Paire played 0-0 in the final match of the round.
Top of the table MP United had a bye in this round due to the uneven number of teams.
And that’s it for the East Asia roundup. I hope you have enjoyed it and please feel free to stop by again at the same time next week, and don’t forget to check back later today for roundups of the other AFC zones.