Urawa Reds opened a six point gap at the top of the J-League, courtesy of a 1-0 home victory over Yokohama F. Marinos. A crowd of 52,582 braved wet conditions at Saitama Stadium to witness Urawa record their twentieth win of the season. Midfielder Nobuhisa Yamada scored the vital goal for the Reds.
Any hopes Gamba Osaka had of maintaining pressure on Urawa were dashed by a 3-1 loss on the road to Kashima. Despite opening the scoring through Brazilian ace Magno Alves, a Satori Yamaguchi own goal and strikes from Yuzo Tashiro and Takyua Nozawa saw Gamba plunge to another defeat.
The Tama derby between FC Toto Sgp Tokyo and Kawasaki Frontale is always a hotly contested affair, however few could have predicted the drama that unfolded at Ajinomoto Stadium. FC Tokyo fell behind 4-1 early in the second half but came back to win the match 5-4, to better their come-from-behind victory over Gamba Osaka two weeks ago. Brazilians Juninho and Marcao were both sent off for Kawasaki, before Yasuyuki Konno scored an incredible last minute winner for FC Tokyo, sparking wild celebrations amongst the capital city club’s vociferous fans.
At the foot of the table, Avispa Fukuoka and Cerezo Osaka continue to fight a two-way battle for the crucial relegation/promotion playoff place. Both clubs lost at the weekend but remain three points in front of bottom club Kyoto Purple Sanga – who drew 1-1 at home to lowly Ventforet Kofu.
In J2 results, Kashiwa Reysol maintained their automatic promotion hopes with a thrilling 4-3 victory over Vissel Kobe at Kobe Wing Stadium.
Kashiwa opened the scoring less than sixty seconds into the match through Tatsuya Suzuki. Kobe equalised through Kunie Kitamoto just before half-time, before Suzuki scored his …