Match-day 23 of the Meiji Yasuda J1 League took place over the weekend and table leader Kawasaki Frontale thumped their nemesis, Nagoya Grampus.
Kaoru Mitoma latched onto the corner kick to blow the lead for the hosting Kawasaki Frontale minutes before the half-time whistle. The set-piece capitalization was ceaseless. 12 minutes into the second half, defender, Jesiel slotted home the header from a well-curved free-kick from the veteran midfielder, Kengo Nakamura, and later on, the Brazilian center-half again leaped two-feet high to slaughter the visitors and seal the 11th consecutive victory for Kawasaki. It was further marked as revenge from their previous defeat to Nagoya in August – the only outfit to have stolen all three points from Kawasaki this season. Toru Oniki’s boys have now amassed formidable 65 points and have furthered the gap from second-placed Cerezo Osaka to 17.
The chaser, Cerezo Osaka, were brought into the limelight as they clouted Yokohama F. Marinos at home during the sole fixture on Saturday. Hiroaki Okuno and Yuta Toyokawa were the heroes of the night, scoring two goals apiece. The former opened the account with an irrepressible header in the 10th minute and another an hour later. The former K.A.S. Eupen (Belgian First Division A) forward, Yuta Toyokawa displayed superb precision, bagging two goals, minutes after entering the pitch in the second half. It was four for Cerezo and consolation came in late at the stoppage-time, when ex-Osakan, Kota Mizunuma netted with an incisive header. Cerezo now stand second on the ladder geared by two recent victories.
Cerezo’s positional switch on the ladder was also boosted by the following day’s FC Tokyo misery. The Tokyoites traveled to Nippatsu Mitsuzawa Stadium hoping for a seamless victory against Yokohama FC. However, both sides failed to find the net, till the 24-year-old forward, Yuki Kusano fired home the winner at the 88th minute, only for Tokyo defenders to rue. The capital outfit now stand at the third spot. Meanwhile, Gamba Osaka, at their pinnacle, emerged victorious against Oita Trinita at the Showa Denko Dome Oita through Patric screamer. Being defeat-less for the past eight fixtures, they jumped to fourth on the league.
Six-goal haul at the Saitama Stadium 2002 pleased the Urawa Red Diamonds fans amid the pandemic while visiting Vegalta Sendai were left in agony. The epitome of teamwork ensued early opening goal for Urawa through Kazuki Nagasawa. And the following set-pieces from pinpoint free-kick curled by Martinus to Shinzo Koroki spot-kick already sealed the game for the host in the first half. Three goals were never enough for the Reds, as they doubled the scoresheet through Koroki and Leonardo brace. At the Edion Stadium Hiroshima, host, Sanfrecce Hiroshima bagged all three points against the guest, Vissel Kobe. The video game-like fiery Sho Sasaki header was too hot for custodian Hiroki Iikura to handle. It was further extended when rugged forward Leandro Pereira blasted Herculean projectile on the top edge of the goal. An 84th-minute consolation from his Brazilian counterpart, Dankler came in, yet, it was 2-1 for the home side.
The sole goal from Yoshiaki Komai collected the win for Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo against Kashima Antlers, while Shimizu S-Pulse and Sagan Tosu drew at the IAI Stadium Nihondaira with Valdo and Daichi Hayashi scoring a goal apiece. The highlight of the week was marked when wooden spoonist, Shonan Bellmare secured a victory against Kashiwa Reysol to delineate their third win of the season. It was a dramatic win at the Shonan BMW Stadium Hiratsuka as they came-from-behind through Temma Matsuda and Naoki Ishihara to upset the visitors.