The 40th round of the MEIJI YASUDA J2 League took place on Sunday, with three clubs still alive in the battle for second place and automatic promotion to next season’s MEIJI YASUDA J1 League.
V-Varen Nagasaki notched a 2-0 win at Mito Hollyhock, remaining in second place with 74 points thanks to goals at the end of each half by Ryutaro Iio and Keita Nakamura.
Third place Nagoya Grampus successfully defended a 1-0 lead at Fagiano Okayama after Ryota Aoki scored in the 37th minute. They now trail Nagasaki by two points.
Avispa Fukuoka, who entered the day narrowly trailing Nagoya on goal difference, gave the home crowd at Level 5 Stadium something to cheer about with a 2-1 win over champions Shonan Bellmare. Wellington and Daisuke Ishizu were the scorers in the 27th and 66 minutes respectively.
Matsumoto Yamaga remained in fifth place following their 1-1 draw at Kamatamare Sanuki, while Tokushima Vortis leapfrogged Tokyo Verdy into sixth place on 64 points with a 3-1 win at Ehime FC.
Verdy, who are now in seventh on goal difference following their 2-1 loss to Renofa Yamaguchi, are just one point ahead of Yokohama FC, who won 2-0 against Roasso Kumamoto, and a resurgent JEF United Chiba who earned a 2-1 result against Machida Zelvia.
Despite their 1-1 draw against Montedio Yamagata, Oita Trinita remain within reach of the playoff zone with 61 points.
The league’s penultimate round will take place on November 11 and 12 before the climax on November 19.