Kashiwa Reysol 1-3 Kashima Antlers
(49′ Eduardo / 45+1′ Ueda, 71′ Caio, 90+4′ Nakamura)
With a mid-week trip to Sydney on the agenda, Kashima Antlers got the round off to an early start through a 3-1 win at hosts Kashiwa Reysol.
The visitors took the lead on the verge of half time through Naomichi Ueda’s goal.
Despite allowing an Eduardo equaliser just four minutes into the second half, Antlers regained the lead through Caio’s strike in the 71st minute and an insurance goal by Atsutaka Nakamura in stoppage time.
Vegalta Sendai 2-3 Kawasaki Frontale
After a disappointing draw against Urawa Reds, Frontale rallied to take home a crucial away win at Vegalta.
Wilson put the hosts in the lead through his 28th-minute goal, but Frontale shot back with two goals in a three-minute period midway through the second half.
The equaliser came through striker Yu Kobayashi, who needed just seven minutes after coming off the bench to calmly slot the ball inside the near post. He was followed moments later by Renato, who beat out a defender to send a low shot from near the edge of the box.
Vegalta drew even in the 80th minute when Atsuto Tatara sent a half-volley into the net, but six minutes later his effort was neutralised by evergreen Yoshito Okubo’s dramatic game-winner.
Montedio Yamagata 0-0 Matsumoto Yamaga
The two promoted sides played to a scoreless draw in an ND Soft Stadium buffeted by strong winds. After spending much of the first half on defence, Yamaga found more chances after the interval but failed to make anything of them.
Yet even a point was welcome for the visitors, who escaped the relegation zone after rising to 15th place in the J1 standings.
Ventforet Kofu 0-3 Sagan Tosu
(4′ 68′ Toyoda, 25′ Mizunuma)
A Yohei Toyoda brace helped Sagan Tosu easily slide past Ventforet Kofu at Chuo Bank Stadium.
The striker’s first goal came from the spot after he was clearly pulled down in the penalty area.
20 minutes later, teammate Kota Mizunuma received the ball in the final third and muscled past several defenders to convert from close range.
The third goal of the match – and Toyoda’s second – was a fine loop from distance that sailed over the reach of goalkeeper Kota Ogi, giving the Kyushu visitors a full three points.
Albirex Niigata 2-2 Vissel Kobe
An own goal contributed to two points left on the table by Albirex against visiting Vissel Kobe.
Michael James Fitzgerald’s 15th-minute blunder undid the early work of Rafael Silva, who put the hosts into the lead after 10 minutes with a composed trap and delivery.
Albirex retook the lead just 3 minutes from half time through a sensational half-volley by Kosuke Yamamoto for his second goal of the season.
On the hour mark it was Shunki Takahashi who left the teams honours even after muscling his way around a defender before sending his low grounder to the opposite post, with Albirex goalkeeper Tatsuya Morita unable to make the save.
FC Tokyo 1-2 Sanfrecce Hiroshima
(1′ Muto / 11′ Shibasaki, 82′ Asano)
A scattered FC Tokyo failed to take advantage of an early lead as they fell to a revitalised Sanfrecce side.
Chelsea target Yoshinori Muto needed less than a minute to notch his fifth goal of the season on a swift breakaway, but Tokyo’s lead was short-lived after Kosei Shibasaki equalized in the 11th minute.
The visitors generally controlled the match throughout, showing little of the poor form that had dogged them in recent matches.
In the end they were rewarded for their efforts when Takuma Asano scored the game-winner in the 82nd minute, handing the capital city side their first loss of the season.
Urawa Reds 2-1 Yokohama F. Marinos
(42′ Muto, 45+1′ Umesaki / 34′ Ito)
Urawa Reds recovered from an early deficit to remain undefeated in their league campaign.
The Saitama Stadium residents found chances early, as Zlatan’s 11th-minute shot went just wide of the goal. 10 minutes later, the Slovenian forced a diving save with his header in the box.
Marinos wasted an opportunity to take the lead in the 29th minute when Sho Ito’s wide-open shot went straight toward goalkeeper Shusaku Nishikawa. Ito redeemed himself in the 34th minute when his low effort slipped past the national team backup.
Yuki Muto equalised for the hosts late in the first half through an easy rebound, and on the verge of half time it was Tsukasa Umesaki who headed in what would become the game-winner from close range.
Marinos saw their best chance to earn a draw denied in the 53rd minute when Reds captain Yuki Abe made a superb clearance off the line, ensuring that his team would end the day on top of the J1 table.
Shonan Bellmare 0-2 Gamba Osaka
(26′ Usami, 90+1′ Endo)
Gamba Osaka won easily over J2 champions Shonan Bellmare on a chilly Saturday night in BMW Stadium, though the hosts were not without their chances.
Golden boy Takashi Usami increased his tally to seven on the season when he rushed towards the goal net to head in a 26th-minute rebound. He was unlucky to find a second in the match, at one point forcing a tremendous save by Yota Akimoto in the second half.
A second was in the works for Gamba, however, as veteran Yasuhito Endo converted from the spot to become the J-League’s all-time leading penalty scorer with his 27th such goal.
Nagoya Grampus 3-1 Shimizu S-Pulse
(6′ Matsuda, 18′ Nagai, 48′ Kawamata / 89′ Murata)
Grampus had little trouble besting troubled Shimizu S-Pulse, who haven’t won since their season opener against Kashima Antlers.
The scoring started early with Riki Matsuda calmly taking his second goal of the season via a grounder from outside the penalty area.
Kensuke Nagai made it 2-0 with his close-range shot, but only after Kisho Yano’s superb physical efforts preserved possession deep in S-Pulse territory.
Just after half time, recent national team debutante Kengo Kawamata scored a skillful header, making S-Pulse striker Kazuya Murata’s late goal little consolation for the visiting fans in attendance.