Reds leap into first place

Reds leap into first place

Home fans on both sides of Japan went home happy on Friday night after seeing their teams cruise to victory.

At Saitama Stadium, a pair of second-half goals helped Urawa Reds jump up to provisional first place in the 2016 MEIJI YASUDA J1 League with a 2-1 victory over Ventforet Kofu. 

Shinzo Koroki scored in a third straight match to give the hosts the lead in the 68th minute, but Ryota Moriwaki delivered the highlight of the evening with a stunning half-volley from outside the penalty area. 

Sho Inagaki netted a consolation strike for the visitors, who have begun the season with three losses.

At Edion Stadium, Peter Utaka netted a brace and Yusuke Chajima also scored as Sanfrecce Hiroshima were rarely troubled in a 3-0 win over Vegalta Sendai. 

The defending champions delivered 22 shots to Vegalta’s 9 in what has only been their second win of the season and are now in provisional fourth place.

The remaining seven fixtures of the J1’s fifth round will take place on Saturday, April 2.