Yu Kobayashi’s heroics in front of goal were the only reason Kawasaki Frontale did not slip to a shock home defeat to Shonan Bellmare in Saturday’s thrilling MEIJI YASUDA J1 League encounter that finished 4-4.
Yoshito Okubo got the ball rolling when he swept his effort into the top right corner following Kentaro Moriyama’s clever dummy
the veteran’s 157th goal was cancelled out when Jung Sung-rong diverted a routine cross into the back of his net as he came up to claim under pressure
Jung was culpable again as Shonan took the lead for the first time on the day, with the South Korean leaving acres of space to allow Daisuke Kikuchi’s daisy cutter to creep in to his right.
The advantage only lasted a minute before Yu Kobayashi got his first of the evening but the visitors were a goal up again right afterwards as an unmarked Paulinho met a corner with a spectacular first-time finish with his right boot.
It was end-to-end as Kobayashi combined beautifully with Ryota Oshima before unleashing a drive past Tomohiko Murayama, the custodian getting a hand to the effort but unable to keep it out.
The match could not sustain such a pace and the intensity dwindled after the break although the drama continued as Shonan took the lead once again, a deep cross from the left squirming all the way across Frontale’s goal before Takuya Okamoto appeared at the far post to bag an easy finish.
Desperate not to throw away a result because of a series of mix-ups at the back, Frontale pushed forward and were finally rewarded with a last-gasp equaliser.
Shintaro Kurumaya sending a deep ball onto the head of Kobayashi who flicked on to substitute Takayuki Morimoto, who could not miss his header from point-blank range.
The result left the side unable to keep apace with Kashima Antlers – who had Mu Kanazaki’s 31st-minute header to thank for their 1-0 win over Sagan Tosu – or Omiya Ardija, who kept up their perfect record back in the top-flight by defeating Kashiwa Reysol 2-0 through Dragan Mrdja’s brace.
Vissel Kobe played out a nine-goal thriller that exploded into life in a frantic 25-minute stretch towards the end and finished 6-3 in their favour, with Brazilians Pedro Junior and Rafael Silva notching braces on opposing ends.
Yokohama F.Marinos and Avispa Fukuoka are still winless following the pair’s 1-1 draw at Level-5 Stadium.