Kuala Lumpur: Sydney FC broke new grounds in the A-League on Sunday as they became the first side to win five A-League titles after defeating Melbourne City in the Grand Final.
Elsewhere, the action returned in the Malaysian championship following the COVID-19 suspension, there were intriguing results in Myanmar and a tough weekend for the Japan-based Thai stars.
So join the-AFC.com as we review the best of ASEAN football from the weekend.
Australia: Grant the hero for history-making Sydney
CHAMPION5 was the hashtag used by Sydney FC’s social media team as the Sky Blues clinched an unprecedented fifth A-League championship and became only the second team to successfully defend the title they won last year.
Rhyan Grant, who claimed the player of the match award, proved an unorthodox difference-maker as he scored with his chest past Tom Glover to give the Premiers a narrow 1-0 extra-time win over Melbourne City, who were playing in their first Grand Final.
“It was nice, maybe a little bit lucky, but I thought I’d put the keeper on with the chest rather than the head and it worked – so happy days,” said Grant.
“That’s a Grand Final, it’s a bit end-to-end at times and a bit cagey I suppose. We just had to ride that out and then make sure when we got our chances we took them.
“Thankfully we got that goal and then held them out but City were really good, we just got a bit lucky I reckon.”
Malaysia: Wins for JDT and Terengganu as Malaysia Super League returns
Normal service resumed in Malaysian football with the fifth gameweek finally played more than five months after the majority of sides played their fourth.
While Terengganu and Petaling Jaya City belatedly concluded the fourth round of fixtures on August 22, all 12 clubs were in action on the weekend.
Holders Johor Darul Ta’zim were given a scare against Pahang FA as they almost let slip a 3-0 lead before finally edging their opponents 3-2, while Terengganu followed up their win over Petaling with a comfortable 4-0 victory against Sabah that sees them three points behind JDT in second.
Perak FA have dropped points, however, losing to Melaka United, to fall to third while Kedah’s 2-0 win at PDRM sees them into fourth. Meanwhile, UiTM’s 1-0 win over FELDA United sees them behind Kedah on goal difference to round out the top five.
Myanmar: Hantharwady United extend lead at top
Despite a convincing 6-1 win over Sagaing United on Thursday, Ayeyawady United saw a four-game winning streak snapped over the weekend as a 1-1 draw at Southern Myanmar saw them drop points in the hunt for top spot as frontrunners Hantharwady United increased the gap to three points following a narrow 1-0 win over ISPE FC.
Yangon United also took advantage of Ayeyawady’s stalemate as their 3-1 defeat of Yadanarbon saw them reduce the deficit between themselves and second place to four points. Shan United, who defeated Rakhine United 1-0 on Thursday, will be in action against Sagaing on Monday, as will Magwe and Rakhine.
Japan: A weekend to forget for Thai stars
Leading 3-1 going into stoppage time, Theerathon Bunmathan would have been thinking a job well done as his Yokohama F. Marinos side looked to have taken a valuable three points away at Vissel Kobe.
But late goals from Noriaki Fuhimoto and Kyogo Furuhashi turned the tie on its head and saw the Thai full-back and his teammates having to settle for an unlikely 3-3 draw.
Added-time disappointment was also on the agenda for Chanathip Songkrasin and Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo as Lucas Fernandes failed to convert a penalty in the seventh minute of added time against Nagoya Grampus as Consadole and Chanathip’s winless run extends to six matches in all competitions following a 0-0 draw.
The only member of the Thai trio who failed to see action was striker Teerasil Dangda and he could be forgiven for feeling relief that he didn’t as his side Shimizu S-Pulse suffered a 5-0 thumping at league leaders Kawasaki Frontale.
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Photo: Sydney FC