Sanfrecce won their eighth game out of nine in the MEIJI YASUDA J1 League season when they defeated Sagan Tosu 1-0 on Saturday.
The guests had hit the crossbar in a scare early on, but Patric scored the decisive goal with the clock ticking down to send his side nine points clear at the top of the table.
Vegalta Sendai were unable to keep up as they suffered a shock 3-0 defeat on home soil to Jubilo Iwata, who had goals from Takuya Matsuura, Daiki Ogawa and Taishi Taguchi to thank for the victory.
It was a result that allows FC Tokyo to usurp them in second place, with the capital club grinding out a 1-0 result against Shimizu S-Pulse.
Yokohama F. Marinos remain just outside the bottom three after being held to a 4-4 draw by Shonan Bellmare, who raced into the lead with Yuji Nakazawa’s own-goal.
Hugo Vieira proceeded to hit a hat-trick – his second and third goal a matter of second apart – but the damage had been done as Alen Stefanovic fired in a brace to ensure a share of the spoils in the goal-laden game.
There was further set-back for Kashima Antlers meanwhile as they lost 4-1 to reigning J.League champions Kawasaki Frontale, while Urawa Reds were held 0-0 by Consadole Sapporo.
Lukas Podolski’s brace sealed a 3-0 win for Vissel Kobe over Nagoya Grampus while Hwang Ui-jo gave relegation-threatened Gamba Osaka a 1-0 victory in the Osaka derby over Cerezo Osaka.
On Sunday, V-Varen Nagasaki emerged 1-0 winners over Kashiwa Reysol to pull level on 11 points with their opponents.