J1 Matchweek 23 recap: Top 3 all win as title chase remains a close fight

J1 Matchweek 23 recap: Top 3 all win as title chase remains a close fight

All three of the teams in the fight for the Meiji Yasuda J1 League had some trouble in Matchweek 23, but they all managed to walk away with wins, keeping the tight chase as close as ever.

Let’s check in on that, the relegation battle and everything else from the week in J1:

Kawasaki Frontale 0, Vissel Kobe 1

A 36th minute red card reduced Frontale to 10 men and Yuya Osako scored beautifully on the ensuing free kick for his 17th goal of the season as the Ushi ran away from Kawasaki with full points.

Yokohama F·Marinos 2, Gamba Osaka 1

Marinos were the last team to beat Gamba back on May 20 and they did it again on Saturday, ending the Nerazzurri’s eight-match unbeaten streak thanks to goals by Yan Matheus and Anderson Lopes to remain level on points with Vissel atop the table.

Nagoya Grampus 1, Kashima Antlers 0

Nagoya held off Kashima early thanks to some smart goalkeeping by Mitchell Langerak, then scored the only goal of the game on a gorgeous move that ended with Yuki Nohami darting in at the back post to blast the ball home and keeping Grampus two points off the top.

Sanfrecce Hiroshima 2, Urawa Reds 1

Urawa scored first, but Sanfrecce fought back through Mutsuki Kato and Nassim Ben Khalifa to snap their six-match winless streak.

Kashiwa Reysol 1, Cerezo Osaka 1

Sachiro Toshima scored just four minutes after kickoff and it looked like that’d be enough to earn Reysol the win, but Ryosuke Shindo came flying in to head home the equalizer in the final minute of stoppage time as Cerezo walked out of Kashiwa with a dramatic point.

Avispa Fukuoka 2, Yokohama FC 0

Avispa extended their win streak to four as Ryoga Sato scored a pair of goals to lead the home side.

F.C.Tokyo 2, Kyoto Sanga 0

Ryoma Watanabe gave F.C.Tokyo the lead, then Keigo Higashi scored a gorgeous half-volley off a chested ball down to seal a great night for the capital club.

Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo 1, Sagan Tosu 1

Yuya Asano finished a pretty move to put Sapporo in front, but some wonderful footwork by So Kawahara brought Sagan even and split the points.

Albirex Niigata 2, Shonan Bellmare 2

Shonan scored twice in the first 26 minutes and looked to be on their way to a win that would take them out of last place, but Yoshiaki Takagi’s lovely finishing netted him a second half brace brace and Albi a valuable point.