J1 Matchweek 12 recap: Wins at the top as title challengers pick up pace

J1 Matchweek 12 recap: Wins at the top as title challengers pick up pace

The top four teams in the Meiji Yasuda J1 League table all won over the weekend, protecting their places, while two other challengers added wins of their own to make the entire top six fresh off of wins. As the fight at the top heats up, it’s going to take phenomenal play to keep pace and in Matchweek 12, they were all up to the challenge.

Let’s dive into the action:

Vissel Kobe 3, Yokohama FC 0

The Ushi stayed top of the league with a comprehensive victory, led by Yuya Osako’s eighth and ninth goals of the season that made him the league’s top goal scorer.

Yokohama F·Marinos 4, Kyoto Sanga 1

Takuma Nishimura scored after 10 minutes and the Tricolor added three more goals in the second half as they cruised to a victory that kept them in second place, two points off the top.

Nagoya Grampus 1, Gamba Osaka 0

It was a traditional Nagoya game, with Grampus’ excellent defense controlling the match and a lone Sho Inagaki goal making the difference to keep the title challengers in third place, three points back of Vissel.

Sanfrecce Hiroshima 3, Avispa Fukuoka 1

Yuya Yamagishi put Avi in front, but the Viola poured it on late with three second half goals to take all three points and keep them three points back of first place, but with a match in hand.

Cerezo Osaka 0, Kashima Antlers 1

Ikuma Sekigawa nodded home from close range in the 67th minute and Satoki Uejo saw red four minutes later to end Cerezo’s hopes of a comeback as Kashima moved up to fifth place.

Kawasaki Frontale 1, Sagan Tosu 0

Yasuto Wakizaka was on the spot to take a free ball in the Sagan box and finish beautifully for the lone goal as Frontale made it three wins in a row to take over sixth place.

Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo 5, F.C.Tokyo 1

Consa put in their best match of the season as Daiki Suga and Takuro Kaneko each scored twice to lead the home side to a dominant victory in front of an adoring crowd at the Sapporo Dome.

Albirex Niigata 0, Kashiwa Reysol 0

Albi played well, but they couldn’t find a way through Reysol as the two sides had to split the points.