JEF, Montedio, Verdy close on playoff positions

JEF, Montedio, Verdy close on playoff positions

JEF United Chiba were amongst several teams who inched closer to promotion playoff contention in Friday’s MEIJI YASUDA J2 League Round 27 action.

Juan Esnaider’s men took the lead in their home match against Renofa Yamaguchi through Yamata Machida’s 57th-minute opener, but required stoppage-time heroics by Koki Kiyotake after Kazuhito Kishida equalised for the visitors in the 89th minute.

At 42 points the Fukuda Denshi Arena residents trail sixth-place Yokohama FC, who drew 2-2 at Tokushima Vortis thanks to Ibba’s brace, on goal difference, with Fagiano Okayama also level on points after drawing 1-1 at FC Gifu.

Montedio Yamagata rose to 10th place with their 2-1 win against Zweigen Kanazawa, while Tokyo Verdy also joined the 40 point club with a 1-0 win against Roasso Kumamoto.

As congestion in the playoff picture increased, Shonan Bellmare and Avispa Fukuoka continued to distance themselves from the pack, with Bellmare winning comfortably in a 2-0 victory at V-Varen Nagasaki while Avispa earned a 1-0 win at Kyoto Sanga through Wellington’s late effort.

The round will conclude on Saturday when Nagoya Grampus host Matsumoto Yamaga in a fixture that could see the race for a top-six position tighten even further.