Kashima Antlers’ 1-0 loss at Sagan Tosu blew the MEIJI YASUDA J1 League title race wide open, with Kawasaki Frontale closing in the table.
Akito Fukuta’s 80th-minute winner against league leaders and Japanese champions Antlers allowed Frontale to close within five points of the top of the table.
The contenders put five past former challengers Cerezo Osaka in a display of power, with Elsinho notching a brace in a final 5-1 result.
It sees Yokohama F. Marinos leapfrog Cerezo in the standings following their 2-1 win at the latter’s local rivals Gamba Osaka, who find themselves mired ninth.
Vissel Kobe meanwhile beat Albirex Niigata 2-0 with Lukas Podolski notching his first strike in three games, while Ventforet Kofu shocked Kashiwa Reysol 1-0 at home.
FC Tokyo and Omiya Ardija could only grind out 0-0 draws at home against Jubilo Iwata and Shimizu S-pulse, meanwhile, with the relegation six-pointer between Sanfrecce Hiroshima and Consadole Sapporo ended all square at 1-1.
Urawa Reds, who were in AFC Champions League action earlier in the week, will be in action against Vegalta Sendai on Sunday afternoon.