J1 Matchweek 20 recap: Top two battle ends in draw, allowing Vissel to make up ground

J1 Matchweek 20 recap: Top two battle ends in draw, allowing Vissel to make up ground

The top two teams in the Meiji Yasuda J1 League met on Saturday night in a clash of epic proportions, but neither side was able to make any headway. Yokohama F·Marinos and Nagoya Grampus played to a scintillating draw, allowing the third team in the title race, Vissel Kobe, to make a move.

Let’s check in on that and the rest of the action from Matchweek 20:

Nagoya Grampus 2, Yokohama F·Marinos 2

Kensuke Nagai got Nagoya off to a flying start in the eighth minute, but Élber and Joel Chima Fujita hit back to put Marinos in front, only for Kasper Junker to score right after halftime and earn Grampus a draw that maintains the four point gap between the two teams.

Albirex Niigata 0, Vissel Kobe 1

Yuya Osako’s 13th goal of the season was the difference for the Ushi, who moved up to second place with their win in Niigata and are just three points back of Marinos with a match in hand.

Urawa Reds 0, F.C.Tokyo 0

The Reds had a chance to put themselves into the title race, but they could only muster a draw thanks to Shusaku Nishikawa’s heroics in goal.

Sagan Tosu 2, Cerezo Osaka 1

Léo Ceará gave the Sakura an early lead, but Sagan rallied late, with Yuki Horigome equalizing before Cayman Togashi scoring a dramatic stoppage time winner to earn Sagan full points.

Sanfrecce Hiroshima 1, Kashima Antlers 1

Kashima jumped out to an early lead thanks to Ikuma Sekigawa’s header from a free kick, but Ezequiel equalized to split the points in Hiroshima.

Kawasaki Frontale 3, Yokohama FC 0

Frontale were dominant from start to finish as Shin Yamada, Taisei Miyashiro and Yesuke Segawa all found the back of the net to lift the home side into the top half of the table.

Avispa Fukuoka 2, Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo 1

Supachok Sarachat was on the mark once again, but Wellington and Masato Yuzawa scored to bring Avi back for their second consecutive victory.

Gamba Osaka 1, Kyoto Sanga 0

Gamba were on the front foot all match long and when Yuya Fukuda struck in the 72nd minute it was exactly what they deserved for the full three points.

Kashiwa Reysol 1, Shonan Bellmare 1

Mao Hosoya’s goal had Reysol en route to victory, but a 79th minute red card reduced the home side to 10 men and tipped the match Bellmare’s way, which showed up on the scoreboard when Kazunari Ono stole a crucial point for the visitors in stoppage time.