Jay Bothroyd scored as Urawa Reds lost 2-0 to Consadole Sapporo in the MEIJI YASUDA J1 League on Saturday, a result that saw Mihailo Petrovic removed from his position as coach.
Ken Tokura opened the scoring against the embattled visitors, who have lost six of their last eight league outings, and Jay followed that up with the clincher in the 88th minute.
Takafumi Hori was confirmed as Petrovic’s replacement and he’ll have a task steering his new side back on course, with the Reds 12 points behind league leaders Cerezo Osaka.
The high-flyers suffered a setback on Saturday, though, as they surrendered 3-1 at Gamba Osaka despite netting first through Kenyu Sugimoto.
Hwang Ui-jo, Genta Miura and Ademilson sealed a resounding comeback for the Suita City stadium residents as they closed to six points of their neighbours.
Kashima Antlers ensured they kept up the pace with a 3-0 win over Ventforet Kofu, bouncing back from their draw with FC Tokyo before the summer break.
Lukas Podolski meanwhile notched his first two goals in a goalscoring debut for Vissel Kobe in a perfect welcome to life in Japanese football, with his team beating Omiya Ardija 3-1.
Jubilo Iwata meanwhile secured perhaps the surprise of the round, the visitors sealing a 5-2 win at Kawasaki Frontale to close within one point of the latter in the table.
Yokohama F. Marinos were left disappointed they were unable to secure a win over Shimizu S-Pulse, as Chong Tese’s 70th-minute equaliser meant a share of the spoils in a 2-2 draw.