J1 Matchweek 9 recap: Race for first tightens as Marinos top Vissel

J1 Matchweek 9 recap: Race for first tightens as Marinos top Vissel

Vissel Kobe have been at the top of the Meiji Yasuda J1 League for weeks, and they still sit in first, but a loss this weekend has tightened up the fight for the summit. Five teams are now within two points of the Ushi.

How did we get here? Let’s check out all the Matchweek 9 action:

Vissel Kobe 2, Yokohama F·Marinos 3

The Ushi jumped out to a 2-0 lead early on, but the champions did not flinch. Anderson Lopes cut the lead in half and Kota Watanabe equalized in first half stoppage time, setting Anderson Lopes up for his second and the match-winner in the 82nd minute for a gigantic win that has the Tricolor right back in the title race at two points back.

Nagoya Grampus 2, Shonan Bellmare 2

Nagoya had a chance to take over the top spot in the table and led 2-0, but Naoki Yamada and Shuto Machino each scored to bring Bellmare back and steal a draw that kept Grampus in second place.

Kawasaki Frontale 1, Urawa Reds 1

Yasuto Wakizawa won a scramble in front of goal to give Frontale a lead just after the break, but Urawa came back with a beautiful move that culminated in a Bryan Linssen finish to split the points.

Sanfrecce Hiroshima 1, F.C.Tokyo 2

The capital club blitzed Sanfrecce with two early goals and held on to snap the Viola’s win streak and keep them from jumping to first place.

Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo 2, Avispa Fukuoka 2

Takuma Arano and Yuya Asano had Consa two goals up after only 13 minutes, but Yuya Yamagishi scored just after the break then Lukian buried a penalty to earn Avi a draw.

Cerezo Osaka 1, Kashiwa Reysol 0

Shinji Kagawa forced a giveaway, fed Léo Ceará in transition and the Brazilian set Seiya Maikuma to bang the ball into an empty goal for the lone tally of the game that earn the Sakura a vital three points.

Kyoto Sanga 2, Sagan Tosu 3

Goals by Yuji Ono, Fuchi Honda and an own goal put Sagan in front, then a red card to Kazunari Ichimi thwarted Sanga’s chances of a comeback as the visitors took home the win.

Albirex Niigata 0, Kashima Antlers 2

Kashima snapped their losing streak thanks to goals by Yuma Suzuki and Yuki Kakita and climbed up to 13th place after a difficult start to the season.

Gamba Osaka 1, Yokohama FC 1

Takashi Usami finished a gorgeous Gamba move to give the home side an early lead only for Boniface Nduka to head home from a corner and earn the Fulie a draw in Osaka.