Vissel Kobe showed no after effects from their first loss of the season last week, bouncing right back to pick up all three points in a very professional showing that has them sitting all alone in first place again, but the cadre of challengers continues to grow as the title race sets up to be an exciting battle.
Let’s check in on that and the rest of the action from Matchweek 5:
Sagan Tosu 0, Vissel Kobe 1
Toya Izumi’s gorgeous 22nd minute goal was the difference, but the Ushi’s outstanding defending stood out as well as Vissel moved two points clear at the top.
Nagoya Grampus 0, F.C.Tokyo 0
FCT had the bulk of the ball, but Nagoya defended resolutely and the chances were limited both ways in a stalemate at Toyota Stadium.
Yokohama F·Marinos 2, Kashima Antlers 1
The Tricolor bounced back with a big win as Ken Matsubara put them in front with an absolute bullet before an own goal doubled their lead, allowing the champions to prevail despite Yuma Suzuki finding the back of the net for Kashima.
Avispa Fukuoka 2, Shonan Bellmare 1
Fukuoka looked dead and buried as they went into stoppage time down 1-0, but Yuya Yamagishi scored six minutes into the added period, then did it again in the ninth of nine added minutes to single-handedly turn the home side into shocking winners.
Yokohama FC 1, Kyoto Sanga 4
Koki Ogawa scored his fourth goal of the season to give the Fulie an early lead, but it was all Sanga after that, with Patric, Kosuke Kinoshita and Ryogo Yamasaki all scoring before an own goal wrapped up a dominant win that has the men from Kyoto a mere three points off the top of the league.
Urawa Reds 2, Albirex Niigata 1
The league’s last unbeaten team fell on Saturday as Albi were unable to make a 10th minute Shusuke Ota goal stand up, with Urawa getting goals from Hiroki Sakai and Takahiro Akimoto to turn the match around and hand the visitors their first loss of the season.
Sanfrecce Hiroshima 1, Kashiwa Reysol 0
Sanfrecce completely shut down the Reysol attack then got a goal from Tsukasa Shiotani, who danced past multiple defenders before firing a shot that was aided by a deflection en route to the back of the net.
Gamba Osaka 2, Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo 2
Consa jumped out to a 2-0 lead thanks to goals by Yuki Kobayashi and Tsuyoshi Ogashiwa, but sumptuous transition play by Gamba led to tallies by Hideki Ishige and Juan Alano that left the two sides all square.
Kawasaki Frontale 0, Cerezo Osaka 0
Frontale’s winless streak is now at three after they were unable to mount much of a threat against Cerezo and had to settle for just one point.