The MEIJI YASUDA J2 League’s 33rd round took place over the weekend with several teams making major moves into the play-off zone.
As leaders Shonan Bellmare came out on top with a wild 5-3 win at Renofa Yamaguchi, second-place Avispa Fukuoka’s struggles continued with a 1-0 loss to Ehime FC.
The Level 5 Stadium outfit are winless in their last five matches, and have seen their hold on the second automatic promotion spot slip to just one point.
Chasing them are V-Varen Nagasaki, who climbed into third place on Sunday with a 2-1 win over Tokushima Vortis, whose second straight loss sent them tumbling out of the play-off zone into seventh.
Nagoya Grampus slipped into fourth place when Yoshinori Suzuki gave Oita Trinita a late win at Paloma Mizuho Stadium on Saturday, while Matsumoto Yamaga’s 2-1 win on Sunday over Tokyo Verdy pushed them up to fifth.
In sixth place are Yokohama FC, who bested Zweigen Kanazawa through second half goals from Leandro Domingues and Shogo NIshikawa.
Perhaps the most surprising result of the weekend was Thespa Kusatsu Gunma’s 2-0 victory over JEF United Chiba, the relegation-threatened side’s first victory since May 28 and just their second home win of the 2017 campaign.
Thespa remain in last place with 18 points, just seven behind Renofa Yamaguchi.
The J2 campaign will roll on next weekend with Round 34 taking place on September 16 and 17.