It ensures the runners-up keep up the pressure on Antlers who in turn surged to a 4-2 win at bottom-side Albirex Niigata thanks to Leandro’s hat-trick.
The Brazilian struck thrice in the second half of what was a late show from the Japanese champions, who found themselves trailing in the first five minutes and saw Albirex double their lead right before the break.
Showing the pedigree of league leaders, Antlers made sure of all three points when Mu Kanazaki scored late on as Cerezo Osaka fell further off the pace in a 1-0 loss at Sanfrecce Hiroshima.
It was a result that saw the latter climb out of the relegation zone for the first time in months with Ventforet Kofu being sucked into the bottom three instead, losing 2-1 at Sagan Tosu.
Ventforet are propped up by Omiya Ardija, who showed character when they drew 2-2 with Gamba Osaka and were only denied a win by Shun Nagasawa’s dramatic stoppage-time equaliser.
Lukas Podolski’s Vissel Kobe meanwhile beat Chanatip Songkrasin’s Consadole Sapporo 2-0, while Yokohama F. Marinos lost ground in the title race after being held 1-1 by Kashiwa Reysol and FC Tokyo beat Vegalta Sendai 1-0.