Group J postponed
Group stage matches for clubs in the east zone have been postponed until next month due to challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said yesterday. The Group J matches were initially scheduled to be held in Hong Kong from May 14 to 20, but been rescheduled until June 23 to 29. “The Asian Football Confederation has agreed to the proposal by the Hong Kong Football Association to reschedule the AFC Cup East Zone Group J matches,” the AFC said in a statement. “The decision was confirmed, taking into consideration the ongoing challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and to allow more time to ensure the optimal delivery of the matches.” Group J features Taiwan’s Tainan TSG (Taiwan Steel Group), Mongolia’s Athletic 220, and Hong Kong’s Eastern Long Lions and Lee Man. Last year’s AFC Cup was canceled due to the pandemic when quarantine regulations in many nations made international travel almost impossible.
Ajax claim 35th title
Ajax claimed their 35th Eredivisie title on Sunday with a 4-0 victory over Emmen that gave the Amsterdam giants the crown with three games to spare. Jurrien Timber, Sebastien Haller, Davy Klaassen and Devyne Rensch scored for Ajax in a game played in front of empty stands at the Johan Cruyff Arena due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The win gives Erik ten Hag’s side an unassailable 14-point advantage over second-placed PSV Eindhoven, who could only draw 2-2 against SC Heerenveen. Ajax on Friday last week announced that they had extended coach Ten Hag’s contract until 2023, ending rumors that he was headed to Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga or Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League. “I am happy in Amsterdam and the management have assured me that the current squad will be retained and even strengthened in certain positions,” said Ten Hag, who has coached Ajax since 2017. Despite calls from the authorities to avoid gatherings, thousands of fans gathered outside the stadium. Ajax completed the double two weeks after beating SBV Vitesse 2-1 in the KNVB Cup final.
Slavia Prague retain title
Slavia Prague on Sunday clinched their third straight league title after securing an unassailable lead at the top of the table with four games to go. Slavia were assured of the championship when their archrivals Sparta Prague were held to a draw in their game on Sunday. Unbeaten in 42 consecutive league games, Slavia won their seventh title since the Czech championship was founded following the Czech Republic’s split with Slovakia in 1993.
Zenit claim seventh title
Zenit Saint Petersburg on Sunday claimed a third straight Russian Premier League title after a 6-1 rout of Lokomotiv Moscow. With two games left to play, the club have a nine-point lead over Lokomotiv. Iran forward Sardar Azmoun scored a quick-fire hat-trick, while captain Artem Dzyuba scored a brace and Malcom was also on the score sheet. Francois Kamano scored Lokomotiv’s consolation. Zenit have now won the title seven times, three fewer than the record of 10 held by Spartak Moscow since the championship started in 1992.
The all-English Champions League final might be played in England after Turkey was added to its “red list” of countries where all but essential travel is banned due to COVID-19 outbreaks. Chelsea and Manchester City are due to meet on May 29 in Istanbul and UEFA was hoping to allow about 10,000 fans into the biggest club game of the European soccer season. However, the British government on Friday warned supporters not to travel to Turkey after imposing the new travel restrictions and said that the English Football Association was in talks with Champions League organizer UEFA about staging the game in
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga yesterday said that he has never “put the Olympics first,” the same day an opinion poll showed that nearly 60 percent of people in Japan want the Olympics canceled less than three months before they begin. Japan has extended a state of emergency in Tokyo until the end of the month and is struggling to contain a surge in COVID-19 cases, raising further questions about whether the Games should go on. Its vaccination rate is the lowest among wealthy nations. International Olympic officials, Tokyo planners and Suga have insisted that the Games would go on in “a
Chinese Taipei Football Association (CTFA) secretary-general Fang Ching-jen yesterday touted the success of the Taiwan Business Bank Taiwan Futsal League after Chiayi Tienching on Sunday displayed their all-conquering form and collected the championship trophy with a 5-2 win over YTFC at the Pingtung County Stadium. Since January, when the season began, Chiayi Tienching scored a perfect 10 wins off 10 games to collect 30 points. Taichung Traveler were second, finishing on 22 points with seven wins, two losses and one draw, while CTFA U20 were third on 17 points with five wins, three losses and two draws. In the season’s final round on
A traveling call against the Knicks’ Julius Randle with seconds to go gave possession to the Lakers, letting Talen Horton-Tucker put up his game-winner Talen Horton-Tucker on Tuesday drained a clutch three-pointer in the closing seconds of overtime as the Los Angeles Lakers snatched a thrilling 101-99 victory over the New York Knicks. Horton-Tucker’s effort with 21.1 seconds remaining sealed the win for the Lakers and prevented the Knicks from clinching their first playoff appearance since 2013. It was the dramatic final act of a pulsating clash at the Staples Center, which saw the Knicks’ Julius Randle, a former Lakers player, dominate for long periods with a 31-point performance. Randle looked to have given the Knicks the edge with a superb three-pointer of his own, which put