The Meiji Yasuda J1 League has tense battles at the top and bottom of the table, and Matchweek 30 saw all the teams involved pick up big wins. Let’s check in on all the action from first place to 18th:
Vissel Kobe 3, Kashima Antlers 1
Playing at a packed Japan National Stadium, Vissel showed up in a big way as Daiju Sasaki’s brace led the league’s top team to a comfortable three points as the Ushi close in on the first title in club history.
Yokohama F·Marinos 4, Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo 1
The Tricolor kept pace with Vissel thanks to a late onslaught that saw them score three times from the 84th minute on for a win that kept them four points back of the league leaders.
Urawa Reds 2, Kashiwa Reysol 0
The league’s best defense delivered again as Urawa shut down Reysol and rode goals by Yoshio Koizumi and Takuya Ogiwara to maintain control of third place.
Gamba Osaka 0, Nagoya Grampus 1
Haruya Fujii’s goal was all Nagoya needed to snap their six-match winless streak and take over fourth place in the table.
Sanfrecce Hiroshima 0, Cerezo Osaka 0
The Sakura had more of the ball and the Viola had more of the chances, but neither team could break through in Hiroshima.
Kawasaki Frontale 4, Avispa Fukuoka 2
Avi had a 2-1 lead late, but Yu Kobayashi leveled the match in the 84th minute and then Frontale added two more in stoppage time to delight the home support in Kawasaki.
Yokohama FC 1, F.C.Tokyo 0
Shion Inoue benefitted from a deflection to score the only goal of the game as the Fulie picked up a massive win in their bid to avoid relegation.
Albirex Niigata 1, Sagan Tosu 1
First half stoppage time had all the action as each team scored just before the break to split the points.
Kyoto Sanga 0, Shonan Bellmare 1
Shonan would have dropped to last place with Yokohama FC’s win, but Yuki Ohashi converted a penalty to beat Sanga and remain one point ahead of the Fulie in the relegation battle.