J1 League Matchweek 15 Recap: Zelvia reclaim first in wild fight for top spot

J1 League Matchweek 15 Recap: Zelvia reclaim first in wild fight for top spot

The fight for the top of the Meiji Yasuda J1 League has been wild, with first place constantly trading hands and that did not stop in Matchweek 15 as FC Machida Zelvia returned to the summit. Let’s see how they did it and everything else from a terrific weekend of matches.

FC Machida Zelvia 5, Tokyo Verdy 0

Shota Fujio led the way with a brace as Zelvia started strong, with two goals in the first 30 minutes, and finished stronger, with three goals in the final 30 minutes. The win lifted Zelvia back to the top of the table.

Kashima Antlers 1, Vissel Kobe 0

Vissel entered the weekend in first place, but #NextGenJLEAGUE star Kimito Nono’s 81st-minute goal lifted Kashima to victory and has the Antlers level with Kobe on points, three back of Zelvia.

Gamba Osaka 3, Kawasaki Frontale 1

Frontale scored first, but it was all downhill from there. Takashi Usami equalized before Shota Fukuoka and Shuta Kurata scored to deliver victory for a Gamba team that is now all the way up to fourth place.

Sagan Tosu 0, Nagoya Grampus 2

Sho Inagaki and Ken Masui’s goals sandwiched a Sagan red card and Nagoya eased to victory in Tosu and took over fifth in the table.

Júbilo Iwata 1, Urawa Reds 1

Urawa thought they’d found their winner when Marius Høibraten hit the back of the net, but Shota Kaneko equalized just three minutes later to earn Júbilo a draw.

Avispa Fukuoka 0, Cerezo Osaka 3

Léo Ceará took over first place on the J1 goal scoring chart before Shunta Tanaka and Hirotaka Tameda added goals of their own as the Sakura picked up a much-needed win to snap a three-match losing streak.

FC Tokyo 1, Yokohama F·Marinos 1

The Tricolor could not make Nam Tae-hae’s opener stick as Yuto Nagatomo scored a second half goal to split the points in the capital.

Kyoto Sanga 0, Sanfrecce Hiroshima 5

Five-star Sanfrecce! Naoto Arai was spectacular as he scored three times to lead Hiroshima to a dominant win in Kyoto.

Kashiwa Reysol 2, Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo 1

What an ending! Diego scored a terrific header in stoppage time to lift Reysol to victory in front of their adoring fans.

Shonan Bellmare 2, Albirex Niigata 1

Motoki Nagakura gave Albirex a lead, but Lukian hit for two goals to earn Bellmare a win that has them on the verge of escaping the drop zone.