Struggling Sanfrecce Hiroshima finally earned their first MEIJI YASUDA J1 League win on Friday, seeing off Gamba Osaka 1-0 at Suita City Football Stadium.
The 2015 J.League champions kicked-off the sixth matchday desperately needing a result to overturn their poor start to the season.
And Hajime Moriyasu’s men picked up three vital points when Masato Kudo fired home in the 52nd minute to move the visitors up to 18th, as they begin to hope in a change in fortunes.
Urawa Reds then underlined their candidacy for the title this season with a 7-0 mauling of Vegalta Sendai, with Shinzo Koroki’s hat-trick doing the trick for the Saitama Stadium residents to set them up nicely ahead of their AFC Champions League clash with Shanghai SIPG.
It is, however, Vissel Kobe who continue to lead the standings in impressive fashion after their 2-0 win at Omiya Ardija - still yet to pick up any points this term - secured by strikes in either half from Yuki Nakasaka and Takuya Iwanami.
FC Tokyo lost pace near the top of the table with a 2-1 loss at Consadole Sapporo despite Keigo Higashi opening the scoring for the capital side.
Indeed, Yokohama F. Marinos pulled level on 10 points when Takashi Kanai’s winner saw off Jubilo Iwata 2-1 after the visitors had temporarily equalised.
Shimizu S-Pulse struck an early blow in this season’s relegation dogfight with a 2-0 win at Kashiwa Reysol, as Mitchell Duke fired in a stoppage-time clincher on top of Chong Tese’s opener to make sure of three valuable points.
A 3-0 loss at Sagan Tosu plunged Albirex Niigata into further trouble to sit 19th, with the visitors’ failure to make their chances count costing them.