Gamba & Frontale falter in J1 League title race

Gamba & Frontale falter in J1 League title race

Gamba Osaka and Kawasaki Frontale lost ground in the race for the MEIJI YASUDA J1 League title, playing out a 1-1 draw on Sunday.

Frontale thoroughly dominated the encounter at Suita City Football Stadium and deservedly took the lead when Kengo Nakamura fired home in the 52nd minute.

The guests, who attempted a remarkable 21 shots in total, would have been disappointed to then have conceded the equaliser to Gamba, as Shun Nagasawa pulled the hosts level in the 68th minute.

It was a result that would have delighted Kashiwa Reysol, who continue to lead the standings by two points following their 2-1 victory over Consadole Sapporo sealed by Diego Oliveira’s late, late winner.

Jonathan Reis had cancelled out Cristiano’s first-half opener after the break but Reysol pushed through for the victory when Diego fired in a dramatic, decisive goal in the 88th minute.

It was key given Cerezo Osaka saw out a thrilling 4-2 win over Vegalta Sendai - the promoted outfit remaining two points behind and hot on the heels of the leaders.

Yoichiro Kakitani, Kazuya Yamamura, Tatsuya Yamashita and Hotaru Yamaguchi ensured the visitors were always in front even if Naoki Ishihara and Takamura Ishimura saw Vegalta put up a valiant fight.

Kashima Antlers roared to their fourth win in a row under Go Oiwa, seeing off bottom dwellers Albirex Niigata 2-0 following Pedro Junior and Leandro’s second-half goals.

A barren month of June continued for Urawa Reds, though, as they lost their third straight league match at Sagan Tosu to slip to ninth in the table.

Their slide is minor compared to Sanfrecce Hiroshima’s, however, as they collapsed 3-0 at home to fellow relegation battlers Omiya Ardija.

The visitors took the lead when Ataru Esaka fired home after the hour mark and then added two more in the fourth and fifth minutes of extra time as Sanfrecce pushed for an equaliser, forcing the fallen giants further into full-blown crisis.

Jubilo Iwata meanwhile surpassed FC Tokyo in the table with a 2-0 win, as Yokohama F. Marinos secured the same scoreline against Vissel Kobe and Shimizu S-Pulse scraped through 1-0 against Ventforet Kofu.