J1 Matchweek 31 recap: Marinos close gap to first place Vissel in heated title race

J1 Matchweek 31 recap: Marinos close gap to first place Vissel in heated title race

The race for the 2023 Meiji Yasuda J1 League title got even tighter this weekend. Vissel Kobe dropped points, while Yokohama F·Marinos won to close the gap at the top to a mere two points with three matches to play.

How did they do it? And what about the rest of the top flight action? Let’s check in on it all:

Shonan Bellmare 1, Vissel Kobe 1

Bellmare continued their good play as a Yuki Ohashi goal helped push them two points clear of the drop zone, while Vissel needed Yuya Osako’s 21st goal of the season to comeback for a draw that could prove vital in their push for the title.

Avispa Fukuoka 0, Yokohama F·Marinos 4

Marinos had a chance to make up ground on Vissel in the title race and they did just that with a fabulous performance, led by Anderson Lopes’ 20th and 21st goals, as their gap to the top was trimmed to just two points.

Kashima Antlers 0, Urawa Reds 0

Urawa played well at Kashima, but Tomoki Hayakawa made a couple excellent saves to earn Antlers a point.

F.C.Tokyo 1, Sanfrecce Hiroshima 2

Mutsuki Kato and Makoto Mitsuta each scored as the Viola leapt up to fourth place with a good victory in the capital.

Nagoya Grampus 1, Sagan Tosu 1

It looked like Nagoya were cruising to victory, up a goal and a man late, but 10-man Sagan stole a point through Cayman Togashi’s 90th minute equalizer.

Cerezo Osaka 1, Gamba Osaka 0

Léo Ceará made the difference as the Brazilian star’s early goal was all it took to paint Osaka pink.

Kashiwa Reysol 1, Kawasaki Frontale 1

Despite falling behind a goal and a man, Frontale stormed back to earn a draw in Kashiwa through a 70th minute Kento Tachibanada goal.

Kyoto Sanga 0, Albirex Niigata 1

Taiki Watanabe raced in behind the Sanga defense and finished with ease for the lone goal of the game as Albi took full points in Kyoto.

Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo 2, Yokohama FC 1

Yokohama’s bid to avoid relegation took a hit as Consa scored a pair of goals in the first 31 minutes and cruised to victory, leaving the Fulie two points back of safety with three matches left to play.