The 23rd round of the 2016 MEIJI YASUDA J2 League took place on Saturday evening, with the current title contenders finding themselves uncomfortable close at the top of the table.
Second-place Matsumoto Yamaga eased to a 2-1 win at Giravanz Kitakyushu, taking a 2-0 lead by the 22nd minute through Hiroyuki Takasaki and Takayoshi Ishihara before letting in one goal later in the half to Tomoki Ikemoto.
Meanwhile, third place Cerezo Osaka saw Shohei Kiyohara and Kenyu Sugimoto score in a 2-0 win at Thespa Kusatsu Gunma.
Fagiano Okayama held leaders Consadole Sapporo to a scoreless draw at City Light Stadium, causing the visitors to drop into a three-way tie on 47 points with Matsumoto and Cerezo.
The J.League’s northernmost club still lead on goal difference (+18), with Matsumoto (+17) close behind.
A 2-2 draw at Ehime FC allowed Shimizu S-Pulse to take fifth place from Kyoto Sanga, who were defeated 2-1 at Tokushima Vortis.