Jay Bothroyd delivered an early blow to Urawa Reds’ MEIJI YASUDA J1 League title ambitions when he struck the winner for Jubilo Iwata in a 2-1 win on Sunday.
Mihailo Petrovic’s men attempted to capitalise on a number of slip-ups from their title rivals but were left to rue a comedy of defensive errors at the back when they conceded the opener to the visitors in the 30th minute.
Ryota Moriwaki, Shusaku Nishikawa and Tomoaki Makino attempted to pass the ball out of danger at the back but the latter scuffed his pass directly into the path of Yoshiaki Ota, who kept his cool to finish high into the net from close range.
Yosuke Kashiwagi temporarily levelled the scores with a left-footed effort on the edge of the area after an excellent give-and-go with Zlatan Ljubijankic, but disaster struck four minutes later when Bothroyd netted the decisive goal.
The Reds’ failure to clear their lines proved costly as the ball found its way to the former England international, who held off the attentions of Makino to slot home and deliver Jubilo’s first win of the season since returning to the top flight.
Gamba Osaka took full advantage of the result as Shun Nagasawa sealed a 1-0 victory at Ventforet Kofu in a wide-open encounter, although champions Sanfrecce Hiroshima’s early season woes continued as they were held 1-1 at Nagoya Grampus.
The hosts took the lead when Shota Kobayashi’s cross found its way to the far post where Robin Simovic was on hand to thump in, forcing Hisato Sato to reply with a typical predatory finish inside the box with two minutes before the break.
The draw means Hajime Moriyasu’s troops are still without a domestic win this season – something FC Tokyo attained for the first time with their 2-1 triumph at Vegalta Sendai.
Hirofumi Watanabe put his side up in the seventh minute at Yurtec Stadium from a corner, but the capital outfit were level not two minutes later when Yasuhiro Hiraoka put the ball into his own net.
With the score finely poised, it came down to Ryoichi Maeda to strike in a fine first-time finish in the 51st minute to give his team their first points of the campaign.