Bellmare extend lead as Verdy re-enter playoff zone

Bellmare extend lead as Verdy re-enter playoff zone

Leaders Shonan Bellmare and third-place Nagoya Grampus extended their respective winning streaks to four matches on Wednesday night in the MEIJI YASUDA J2 League’s 28th round.

Facing JEF United Chiba on the road, Bellmare earned a 1-0 win through Dragan Mrdja, who scored his first goal since joining the club from Omiya Ardija. 

The Kanagawa side extended their lead over Avispa Fukuoka, whose late own goal resulted in a 1-0 loss at fifth-place V-Varen Nagasaki, to four points.

In a wild encounter at Machida Athletic Stadium knotted at 3-3 in stoppage time, Grampus midfielder Gabriel Xavier scored a golden goal to seal a 4-3 win over persistent Machida Zelvia.

Fourth-placed Tokushima Vortis won their first in four matches with a decisive 4-0 victory at Zweigen Kanazawa.

Tokyo Verdy returned to the playoff zone thanks to Douglas Viera’s brace as the capital side easily handled hosts Oita Trinita. 

Mito Hollyhock and Matsumoto Yamaga won their respective matches to climb to seventh and eighth above Yokohama FC, who fell 1-0 at Kamatamare Sanuki.

At the bottom of the table, 21st-place Renofa Yamaguchi won a key encounter against last place Thespa Kusatsu Gunma to remain one point from safety.