Yoshinori Muto’s brace plunged Vegalta Sendai into the relegation fight, with a 2-3 home loss to FC Tokyo on Wednesday in the MEIJI YASUDA J1 League leaving them hovering just over the drop zone.
The capital outfit had roared into a 3-0 lead by the the 52nd minute as Muto added a pair of goals to Masato Morishige’s opener, though Vegalta would nearly come all the way back when they scored twice in quick succession in the minutes before full-time.
Tokyo eventually hung on for a precious three points that propelled them level with J.League leaders Urawa Reds by the end of matchday 10 - the former having played a game more.
However, former high-flyers Vegalta have been on a five-game losing streak since April, with their objective for the season seemingly survival following several concurrent results at the bottom of the table.
Sho Naruoka salvaged a 1-1 draw for Albirex Niigata in the 91st minute against Montedio Yamagata, the solitary point earned keeping the latter stuck in 16th place despite taking the lead through Ryohei Hayashi.
Things went according to plan for Matsumoto Yamaga on the other hand, their 2-0 win over bottom side Ventforet Kofu with goals from Kohei Kiyama and Obina propelling them clear of the drop zone.
17th-placed Shimizu S-Pulse remain winless after their 2-2 draw with Sagan Tosu, taking the lead twice through Genki Omae only to see Sagan peg them back each time, with Kota Mizunuma scoring a particular beauty of a free-kick.
Vissel Kobe have suffered no such problems this season, and sit comfortably in mid-table after a stunning curling opener from Marquinhos secured a 1-1 result at Shonan Bellmare.
Nelsinho’s men are in fact only a point behind Nagoya Grampus after Yokohama F.Marinos put a halt to their rise with a 2-0 win, courtesy of goals from Ademilson and Kosuke Nakamachi.
Sanfrecce Hiroshima continue soaring on the other hand, as Douglas opportunistically snatched the only goal in a 1-0 victory at Kawasaki Frontale to extend their winning run to five games.
The resurgent side surge up to third place as a result, remaining only a point off the summit, and three ahead of defending champions Gamba Osaka.