Hokuto Shimoda netted twice for Shonan Bellmare to hold Gamba Osaka to a 3-3 draw in Saturday’s thrilling MEIJI YASUDA J1 League match.
The clash at Suita City Football Stadium could have gone either way, as it was the visitors who pulled into the lead in the 10th minute when Jin Hanato opened the scoring.
Yasuyuki Konno and then Keisuke Iwashita then struck either side of the break to fire Kenta Hasegawa’s men into the lead for the first time that afternoon, but Shimoda netted his first 10 minutes later to pull Shonan level again.
The 24-year-old proved the scourge of Gamba as he repeated his feat in the 84th minute, levelling affairs once more after Takashi Usami struck for the hosts two minutes prior.
The result leaves the 2014 champions languishing in eighth, 14 points behind Kawasaki Frontale who continued their time at the top of the table with a 2-0 win at Yokohama F.Marinos courtesy of Eduardo Neto and Yoshito Okubo strikes.
Kashima Antlers are right on Frontale’s heels following an impressive 2-0 result at Urawa Reds sealed by strikes from Mu Kanazaki and Yuma Suzuki in the second half.
Jubilo Iwata failed to take advantage of Sanfrecce Hiroshima’s 1-1 draw against Vissel Kobe to leapfrog their rivals, only managing a 0-0 stalemate of their own versus FC Tokyo.
The plot thickened in the relegation battle, as Ventforet Kofu and Albirex Niigata both picked up 1-0 home wins against promoted sides Avispa Fukuoka and Omiya Ardija respectively.
Yohei Toyoda struck to give Sagan Tosu a 1-0 win against Nagoya Grampus, while Vegalta Sendai continued their resurgence of sorts with a 2-0 victory at unimpressive Kashiwa Reysol.