Urawa lose chance to clinch early J-League title

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leaders lost 2-0 against second place in a sold out Saitama Stadium on Saturday, leaving the 2014 title undecided for at least another week and closing the gap at the top to two points.

Chances at both ends in the first hour saw both sets of supporters wishing for better finishing or worse goalkeeping following some top-shelf saves from Shusaku Nishikawa and Masaaki Higashiguchi. The deadlock was finally broken in the 88th minute, when Akihiro Sato finished off a fast counter-attack and Shu Kurata sealed the win with Gamba Osaka’s second goal in additional time.

With two rounds remaining in the 2014 season, Urawa Reds travel to Sagan Tosu and host Nagoya Grampus while Gamba Osaka face  Vissel Kobe and Tokushima Vortis in the race to see who will be the league’s last single-stage champion before playoffs are introduced in 2015.

The result left Reds with 61 points and Gamba with 59. After winning their respective matches, third-place Kahima Antlers reduced their gap to four points, while Sagan remain in fourth place with 56.