Top four J2 League sides draw as Thespa earn first win

Top four J2 League sides draw as Thespa earn first win

The 12th round of the 2017 MEIJI YASUDA J2 League took place on Sunday, with little movement in the promotion race after the top four teams all drew their respective matches.

Current leaders Yokohama FC kept their position with a 1-1 draw at fourth-place Tokyo Verdy. Daiske Takagi put the hosts in the lead after just seven minutes when he pounced on a rebound from a free-kick. 

At the half-hour mark, Ibba’s header was pushed off the post but Kensuke Sato was unmarked at the far side to equalise for Yokohama.

Second-place Shonan Bellmare had a chance to rise to the top of the leaderboard, but they only managed a scoreless draw at the defensively tenacious Machida Zelvia. Nagoya Grampus also settled for a 0-0 scoreline despite unleashing 14 shots against Montedio Yamagata on the road.

V-Varen Nagasaki couldn’t extend their winning streak to three games in a 0-0 draw against Mito Hollyhock, while FC Gifu saw their recent unbeaten run come to an end in a 2-1 home loss to Oita Trinita.

Zweigen Kanazawa moved to 19th place with a 2-1 win against JEF United Chiba, ending their four-match losing streak.

Perhaps the most jubilant fans in the league could be found at Egao Kenko Stadium, where visiting Thespa Kusatsu Gunma notched their first win of the season in dramatic fashion when Kazuma Takai scored the 2-1 winner at Roasso Kumamoto.