Relegation battle reaches fever pitch as Shonan and Vegalta face off

Relegation battle reaches fever pitch as Shonan and Vegalta face off

Shonan Bellmare are currently above the relegation zone, but not by much. Their 33 points are only three clear of the drop. That’s a better position than Vegalta Sendai, who are on 27 points and scrambling to pick up enough points to stay in the top flight.

This weekend will go a long way to determining which league both teams play in next season, as Shonan visit Vegalta in a massive clash in the relegation battle.

Shonan enter the match in better form, having gone unbeaten in their last four, though three of those were draws. While not maximizing points, getting results out of each match is impressive and has kept them out of the drop zone.

The good run of form for Bellmare hasn’t been because of any one player or a white-hot attack or even an impenetrable defense. Rather, it’s been a total team effort, well-balanced and sound.

They’ve scored four goals in their four-match unbeaten run, a solid but unspectacular number, and those goals have been scored by four different players. They’ve also only notched one clean sheet, but have not allowed multiple goals in a contest. Shonan have simply been a reliable team. Sometimes, that’s all a relegation fight takes.

The news is not as good in Sendai, but they’ve also played a very difficult schedule of late with contests against Nagoya Grampus and Vissel Kobe. Their attack has come to life in recent games, giving Vegalta hope as they’ve scored five goals in their last three matches, but their defense has let them down. They’ll need some sturdier play at the back to move out of the relegation zone — and that must start this weekend against Shonan.

With just three matchweeks left, teams are running out of time to secure their place in the top flight for next season. A win by Shonan this weekend will nearly lock them into the 2022 MEIJI YASUDA J1 LEAGUE, but a loss puts them squarely in the sights of several teams hoping to jump out of the drop zone. That would include Vegalta, whose hopes for safety get a major boost with three points.

Who will inch closer to another season in the MEIJI YASUDA J1 LEAGUE? We’ll find out this weekend at Yurtec Stadium Sendai.