Gamba Osaka and Kashiwa Reysol earned a break after their efforts in the AFC Champions League round of 16, with Round 13 featuring goals galore and not a single draw.
Montedio Yamagata 0-1 Vissel Kobe
Vissel Kobe edged a narrow affair with a single goal after fending off an attacking onslaught by Montedio Yamagata.
Vissel took a total of just seven attempts to Montedio’s 14 and it was Ryohei Hayashi that came closest to putting Montedio in front in the first half, but his composure let him down as he struck his close range effort off the underside of the bar after Diego Souza had wriggled his way into the box.
It was Brazilian loanee Bueno that helped his away side to three points, beating Kim Byeom-yong to Jung Woo-young’s corner and eaasily powering his header past Norihiro Yamagishi.
Shonan Bellmare 4-0 Shimizu S-Pulse
(52′ Kikuchi, 65′ Nagaki, 78′ & 85′ Takayama)
Shonan Bellmare continued an already-impressive return to the J1 with a second-half goal rush over woeful Shimizu S-Pulse.
After scoring just two goals in their last four games, little seemed likely to change for the hosts after a scoreless first half in which S-Pulse threatened mostly through foreigner Peter Utaka.
But Bellmare found their second gear seven minutes after the interval, when Yohei Otake’s pass found Daisuke Kikuchi who slotted in the game’s first goal. 26-year-old Ryota Nagaki doubled their lead with a spectacular free kick in the 65th minute, with Kaoru Takayama adding two of his own in the final 12 minutes of the game to bring the western Kanagawa side up to eighth place.
Vegalta Sendai 0-1 Ventforet Kofu
Ventforet continued the resurrection of their season with a second-straight win, lifting them two places above the bottom of the table.
With both sides accumulating just eight shots in total, the best action was found just after the hour mark, when Shohei Abe’s off-target shot was redirected into the net with a deliberate tap by the veteran Brazilian striker Bare.
It turned out to be a miserable night for Vegalta, who struggled to find chances and instead find themselves three points from the bottom of the table.
Urawa Reds 2-1 Kashima Antlers
(71′ Muto, 83′ Sekine / 67′ own goal)
41,269 people visited Saitama Stadium to watch the league leaders come from behind to maintain their undefeated league record and distance from the chasing pack.
The first half of the encounter featured few real chances from either side, until Brazilian striker Dinei found himself with space inside the box, but sent his shot straight into the boot of Shusaku Nishikawa.
The two sides continued goalless for over an hour, until Ryota Moriwaki attempted to clear a deep cross from Daigo Nishi and instead found himself heading the ball towards the net as Nishikawa was coming off his line, leaving both sides to watch as nobody could get to the ball before it crossed the line.
Kashima’s lead wasn’t to last very long, however, with Shinzo Koroki sending Zlatan Ljubijankic forward with a ball towards the touchline. The Slovenian got there just in time to cross towards the goal face for breakthrough star Yuki Muto to head the ball in from close range.
It was left to Takahiro Sekine to find three points for Urawa, receiving a pass at the edge of the box from Moriwaki and finding a gap with his second touch and leaving Hitoshi Sogahata with no chance as his shot his the crossbar before going in for Urawa’s second.
FC Tokyo 0-1 Nagoya Grampus
(73′ own goal)
Nagoya Grampus had lady luck on their side as an own goal was enough for them to earn three points, enduring the remaining five minutes with just ten men.
With Akira Nishino’s men taking jut five shots to FC Tokyo’s 11, it all went pear-shaped for the capital club as captain Masato Morishige’s sliding clearance on Tomoya Koyamatsu’s centring pass to Kengo Kawamata sent the ball past Shuichi Gonda and into the back of the net.
Massimo Ficcadenti’s FC Tokyo side found a glimmer of hope in the 85th minute, when Ryota Isomura received his marching orders with a second yellow card, but failed to get the three points they needed and slipped from second to fifth on the league table
Kawasaki Frontale 3-2 Sagan Tosu
(19′ & 83′ Sugimoto, 62′ Okubo / 36′ Toyoda, 81′ own goal)
A wild Todoroki Stadium encounter ended with Kawasaki Frontale winning their first home game in nearly a month over Sagan Tosu.
The hero of the day was Kenyu Sugimoto, who scored the game’s first and last goals. The first from the national team candidate came in the 19th minute when he volleyed in a poor clearance by Sagan goalkeeper Taku Akahoshi.
The visitors responded in the 36th minute through a counter, with Yohei Toyoda’s narrow-angled shot from the near side finding its way into the net. But after reigning scoring champ Yoshito Okubo pounced on a rebound for his ninth of the year soon after the hour mark to retake, Frontale defender Yusuke Igawa’s unfortunate 81st-minute own goal gave Sagan hope for a draw.
Those hopes were dashed just two minutes later by Sugimoto, whose header off a corner kick snuck through the scrum and past Akahoshi to push Frontale up to sixth place.
Matsumoto Yamaga 0-3 Yokohama F. Marinos
(8′ Ademilson, 31′ Nakamachi, 90′ Fujimoto)
Yokohama F. Marinos travelled to Matsumoto for the first ever encounter between the two sides, with Yokohama asserting themselves over the battling J-League newcomers.
Ademilson put Yokohama ahead in the first ten minutes with an acrobatic attempt from Masaki Iida’s failed clearance, volleying the ball from an angle to see it loop over Tomohiko Murayama and into the far netting.
Yokohama found their second goal of the night just after the half hour mark, when Manabu Saito worked his way to the edge of the box only for his shot to be immediately blocked by Yudai Iwama, but the rebound fell straight to Kosuke Nakamachi and Matsumoto could only watch as the ball flew into the corner of the net.
A 2-0 scoreline was not enough for Yokohama and they added one last goal in the final minute of regulation time, with Jungo Fujimoto sending an incredible half-volley from outside the box beyond Murayama after Ademilson’s header put the ball into space for the midfielder to charge forward.
Sanfrecce Hiroshima 4-2 Albirex Niigata
(19′ & 80′ Shiotani, 32′ Douglas, 70′ Asano / 45+1′ Yamazaki, 88′ Tanaka)
Sanfrecce jumped to second on the table with a strong home win, leaving Masaaki Yanagishita’s position with last-place Albirex Niigata under question after almost three years at the club.
The first goal of the night came from poor marking by Kazunari Ono, falling over to allow Tsukasa Shiotani to head in the first of his brace from a corner.
Douglas got the second of the match, heading in a cross from Yoshifumi Kashiwa, before Albirex looked to get themselves back in before half time when Ryohei Yamazaki danced into the box and sliding the ball through the legs of Takuto Hayashi.
That reduced margin didn’t last, with Sho Naruoka giving the ball to Kazuyuki Morisaki in their own half, who headed straight to the goal area before centring his pass to Takuma Asano to put the margin back at two goals.
Shiotani secured the three points in the 80th minute with yet another header from Kosei Shibasaki’s corner, while Albirex managed a second consolation goal when Tatsuya Tanaka side-footed home from another corner.