Vissel Kobe have led the Meiji Yasuda J1 League for much of the season, but as the season reached the halfway point this weekend, there was a change atop the table. Yokohama F·Marinos and Nagoya Grampus jumped the Ushi, setting the stage for a tantalizing title race in the season’s second half.
Let’s dive into all the Matchweek 17 action:
Marinos won a wild match, going ahead 1-0 and 2-1 before a pair of Reysol goals in the second half put the visitors in front. Then, Anderson Lopes scored four minutes into stoppage time and Ryo Miyaichi won it three minutes later, delivering the Tricolor a thrilling three points that took them to the top of the table.
Nagoya are up to second in the table after Kasper Junker’s clinical left-footed finish at the back post lifted them to a victory that has them just one point back to Marinos.
The Ushi were dethroned by Cerezo, who took advantage of a terrible mistake by Daiya Maekawa to score a stoppage time winner that has Vissel looking up at Marinos and Nagoya.
Svend Brodersen and the Yokohama defense put in a standout performance in holding Urawa down and splitting the points in a hardfought match.
Leandro Damião made an impact in his first match back from injury, holding the ball up and laying it off perfectly for an onrushing Yasuto Wakizaka to finish for the lone goal in a big victory for Frontale.
Kashima ran their unbeaten streak to nine thanks to Yuta Higuchi’s outstanding free kick, which kissed the underside of the crossbar before finding the net for the match’s lone goal.
Toya Nakamura put Consa in front, but they were unable to finish any of their other many, many chances, leaving the door open for Sagan to steal a point via own goal.
The Nerazzurri are winners of three straight as Issam Jebali scored a pair and Riku Handa added a goal of his own to continue Gamba’s tremendous run of form.
Yuta Toyokawa scored early, only for Naoto Arai to equalize for Albi, setting the stage for Patric to come off the bench and score a brace that won a vital three points for Sanga.