Urawa Reds capitalised on Kawasaki Frontale’s loss to move top of the MEIJI YASUDA J1 League Second Stage standings with a 2-0 win at Nagoya Grampus on Saturday.
Mihailo Petrovic’s side capitalised on the former leaders’ unexpected slip by storming to victory at Toyota Stadium, dominating the encounter from start to finish.
Despite the vast superiority in terms of scoring opportunities, it took the Reds until the 44th minute to find the breakthrough, when Yuki Muto put them in front.
It was the same story in the second half when they were made to wait until the 87th minute before Zlatan Ljubijankic made sure of all three points, but they ultimately clung on for what will surely prove a crucial result.
Frontale were unable to hold on against Sagan Tosu and eventually succumbed 1-0 to the resurgent outfit, as Kim Min-woo struck the winner right after half time as the visitors finished the match with 10 men.
Gamba Osaka are right behind in the standings following their 2-0 win against Jubilo Iwata, while Sanfrecce Hiroshima fought back from being 1-0 down against Shonan Bellmare to win 2-1 thanks to Peter Utaka and Takuya Marutani’s strikes.
Clinical Vegalta Sendai made all their four shots in the game count as they trumped Kashiwa Reysol 4-2, the latter succumbing despite fashioning the majority of chances.
Vissel Kobe similarly raced to a comprehensive 4-1 victory over FC Tokyo, Nelsinho’s men coming back from a goal down in stunning fashion by notching four of their own in a stunning 18-minute spell during the second half.
Ventforet Kofu needed Dudu’s 35th-minute winner to see off Albirex Niigata 1-0 while 10-men Yokohama F.Marinos were held 1-1 by Omiya Ardija.