Cerezo Osaka sprang a surprise result against MEIJI YASUDA J1 League leaders Sanfrecce Hiroshima on Sunday, winning 2-0 at Edion Stadium with Toshiyuki Takagi’s brace.
With the match appearing to head into stalemate, proceedings came to life with 10 minutes to go as Takagi opened the scoring converting Yang Dong-hyun’s lay-off.
Sanfrecce proved unable to shake off the shock and winger Takagi proceeded to then score his fourth goal of the season, inflicting the hosts’ second loss of the 2018 campaign.
However, second-placed FC Tokyo were held to a 0-0 draw by Sagan Tosu and unable to capitalise, while Kawasaki Frontale climbed into third beating Shimizu S-Pulse 3-0 with Kengo Nakamura’s double.
Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo’s upward momentum was halted at Noevir Stadium as Wellington’s masterclass for Vissel Kobe saw the hosts run out 4-0 victors, with the Brazilian notching two goals before laying on twice for Kazuma Watanabe’s own brace.
Struggling giants Gamba Osaka and Urawa Reds played out a dull 0-0 draw on Saturday, as Yokohama F. Marinos put five past V-Varen Nagasaki with Teruhito Nakagawa scoring twice to distance his team from the relegation zone.
AFC Champions League quarter-finalists Kashima Antlers’ domestic struggles continued however with a 2-1 home defeat to Vegalta Sendai, while Jubilo Iwata slumped 1-0 at Shonan Bellmare.
It sees Jubilo just one point above Kashiwa Reysol, who held on to win 3-2 at Nagoya Grampus in a thrilling encounter.