Shun Nagasawa was at the double to propel Gamba Osaka top of the MEIJI YASUDA J1 League in a 3-0 win over Sagan Tosu as they capitalised on slips by Kashima Antlers and Urawa Reds.
After the Japanese champions were hammered 3-0 in their own stadium on Friday, Urawa Reds were meanwhile held to a 3-3 draw at home, as Shinzo Koroki’s hat-trick proved insufficient for victory.
Playing later on Saturday and aware of the two results, Kenta Hasegawa’s men seized their chance to regain control at the summit as Nagasawa struck in either half while remaining solid at the back.
It was a situation the Reds were unable to muster themselves at Saitama Stadium as Chong Tese struck twice to cancel out Koroki’s opening brace, before the latter was called into action to equalise and stave off a shock defeat after Thiago Alves had put the guests ahead.
At the same time, Sanfrecce Hiroshima picked up what was only their second win of the season with a 2-1 result at Ventforet Kofu, fighting back from going a goal down to move 16th in the table.
Vissel Kobe’s results meanwhile remain wildly inconsistent, as Nelsinho’s men saw out a 1-1 draw against FC Tokyo to see their chance to build on victory at Antlers last time out slip away.
Yokohama F. Marinos were likewise unable to hold on to the win in a 1-1 stalemate with Vegalta Sendai - in stark contrast to Cerezo Osaka in their 3-0 blitz of Omiya Ardija to go fourth in the table.
The latter replaced Albirex Niigata at the bottom of the table after the Denka Big Swan Stadium outfit saw off Consadole Sapporo 1-0, while Kashiwa Reysol notched goals in each half to win 2-0 at mid-table Jubilo Iwata.