J1 League Matchweek 18 Recap: Top teams all shine in big week for J1 elite

J1 League Matchweek 18 Recap: Top teams all shine in big week for J1 elite

The top of the Meiji Yasuda J1 League stood tall in Matchweek 18. The first through ninth place teams went undefeated, with each taking at least a point in a strong week for the league’s best teams.

Let’s see how they all got it done:

Yokohama F·Marinos 1, FC Machida Zelvia 3

The Tricolor scored first, but Zelvia stormed back with three goals after the break to take full points in Yokohama and remain top of the table.

Kashima Antlers 1, Albirex Niigata 1

Yota Komi put Albirex in front before Tomoya Fujii equalized, but that’s all Kashima would muster in a disappointing home draw that dropped them two points off Zelvia’s pace in the title fight.

Gamba Osaka 2, Kashiwa Reysol 1

Gamba had to sweat it out late on, but early goals from Takashi Usami and Kota Yamada gave them a win over Reysol to remain in third place.

Vissel Kobe 1, Kawasaki Frontale 0

Yoshinori Muto scored the lone goal as Vissel downed Kawasaki to snap a three-match winless streak and make it four teams within five points of each other at the top of the table.

Sanfrecce Hiroshima 4, Tokyo Verdy 1

Sanfrecce stunned Verdy as Mutsuki Kato scored within two minutes, Pieros Sotiriou netted twice, and Douglas Vieira added another as the Viola kept pace with the top teams.

Cerezo Osaka 2, Urawa Reds 1

Cerezo had a pair of stunners in this one — Lucas Fernandes and Hayato Okuda each scored phenomenal long-range goals — as the Sakura rode two moments of brilliance to three points in Osaka against the Reds.

Avispa Fukuoka 2, Sagan Tosu 0

Goals by Ryoga Sato and Wellington were all Fukuoka needed to take full points from Sagan at home.

FC Tokyo 1, Júbilo Iwata 1

Headers ruled the day at Ajinomoto Stadium, where Ricardo Graça gave the visitors a first-half lead before Soma Anzai nodded home an equalizer to split the points.

Nagoya Grampus 1, Shonan Bellmare 1

Grampus took the lead into the break after Kensuke Nagai finished beautifully to open the scoring, but Kosuke Onose answered in the second half with a wonderful strike to take a point back to Hiratsuka for Bellmare.

Kyoto Sanga 2, Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo 0

Temma Matsuda and Yuta Toyokawa scored three minutes apart as Sanga picked apart Consadole and picked up a massive three points in Kyoto.