J1 Matchweek 16 recap: Race at the top tightens and Gamba escape the bottom

J1 Matchweek 16 recap: Race at the top tightens and Gamba escape the bottom

Matchweek 16 brought big changes at both ends of the table in the Meiji Yasuda J1 League. Vissel Kobe’s match was postponed, allowing Yokohama F·Marinos to move level on points at the top of the table, while Gamba Osaka won their second in a row to leap out from last place.

Let’s check in on that and the rest of the action from the top flight:

Vissel Kobe, Kawasaki Frontale

The match was postponed due to Typhoon No. 2 and will be played at a later date.

F.C.Tokyo 2, Yokohama F·Marinos 3

Anderson Lopes scored a mere 39 seconds after kickoff, but F.C.Tokyo scored a pair to take the lead. Anderson Lopes then scored again, his 11th of the season to tie for the league lead, before the capital club went down to 10 men and set the stage for Marcos Júnior to score an 89th minute winner that took the Tricolor level on points with first place Vissel.

Nagoya Grampus 3, Cerezo Osaka 1

The Sakura went in front after just four minutes, but Nagoya showed their class from there on, getting goals by Ryuji Izumi, Yuichi Maruyama and Mateus before halftime to take a well-deserved victory that has them just one point off the top.

Sanfrecce Hiroshima 3, Kyoto Sanga 1

Yusuke Chajima gave the Viola a lead, only for Sanga to bring the match level in the 69th minute. Sanfrecce did not panic, retaking the lead two minutes later through Chajima’s second and wrapping things up in stoppage time with a Takumu Kawamura solo goal to keep fourth place in the table.

Urawa Reds 0, Kashima Antlers 0

Shusaku Nishikawa was excellent all match, then Tomoki Hayakawa came up huge late as both goalkeeper shined in a goalless draw.

Kashiwa Reysol 4, Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo 5

Takuma Arano and Sachiro Toshima traded goals early before Consa hit for two to take a 3-1 lead, only for Tomoya Koyamatsu and Mao Hosoya to bring the match level. Takuro Kaneko then gave Sapporo a lead that looked set to decide the match, but Yuki Muto equalized in stoppage time. Then, if that wasn’t wild enough, Shuta Tanaka scored in the waning minutes of stoppage time to earn Sapporo a win in one of the wildest matches of 2023.

Yokohama FC 1, Sagan Tosu 2

Yoichi Naganuma got on the end of crosses for two goals to lead Sagan to a win that extended their unbeaten streak to five games and lifted them into the top half of the table.

Avispa Fukuoka 1, Gamba Osaka 2

Yuya Yamagishi’s seventh goal of the season put Avi in front, but Juan Alano and Genta Miura answered with goals of their own to lead Gamba to their second straight win that has them out from the bottom of the table.

Shonan Bellmare 2, Albirex Niigata 2

A penalty 51 seconds into the match teed up Shuto Machino to give Bellmare the lead, only for Kaito Taniguchi to score a pair to put Albi in front, but Kosuke Onose equalized in the 82nd minute to split the points.