Leandro Damião spent the early part of the season leading the MEIJI YASUDA J1 LEAGUE in goals, while Daizen Maeda took over the lead in the summer and has been holding onto it ever since.
Now, as we head into the final week of the campaign, they are tied with 22 goals each, setting the stage for an ultimate match Top Scorer showdown as Leandro Damião’s Kawasaki Frontale meet Maeda’s Yokohama F·Marinos in a battle of champions against runners up.
While Damião was a top five goalscorer in the league last season and entered the campaign as one of the best players in the country, this has been Maeda’s breakout season. He went from a forward who had never scored more than three goals in a J1 season to 22 and counting, establishing himself as one of the top Japanese goal scorers.
His incredible consistency also comes in a season that has seen Marinos make enormous midseason changes, including the departure of both strike partner Ado Onaiwu and manager Ange Postecoglou to Europe. No player has been more integral to Marinos’ surge to second place than Maeda, and now he could add a Golden Boot to his long list of 2021 accomplishments.
So who will be crowned the league’s top goalscorer: Leandro Damião or Maeda? We’ll find out at Nissan Stadium on Saturday.