Kengo Nakamura bagged a brace as Kawasaki Frontale demolished Ventforet Kofu 4-0 on Saturday to stay top of the MEIJI YASUDA J1 League.
The outfit kept up their unbeaten start to the season, dominating from start to finish at Yamanashi Chuo Bank Stadium, with captain Nakamura getting the scoring underway with an expertly dispatched free-kick in the ninth minute.
Yahiro Kazama’s men then doubled their lead when Kentaro Moriya spun and shot inside the box after the hosts failed to clear their lines following a corner, Frontale cruising for the remainder of the tie.
The comfortable lead did not stop Nakamura from busting in an unstoppable drive from a lateral angle, before Yusuke Tasaka clinched an impressive fourth by dispatching cleanly after combining expertly with Takayuki Morimoto.
Fellow title contenders Kashima Antlers keep apace at the top of the table with a 2-0 win over FC Tokyo, Mu Kanazaki taking his personal tally of the season to three following his second-half double.
The Japan international broke stubborn resistance from the capital side when he produced a fine poacher’s finish inside the box, diverting home Shuhei Akasaki effort from outside the box.
Antlers then had a goal disallowed for a perceived foul, but that did not stop Kanazaki making safe all three points on the cusp of the final whistle, meeting Gaku Shibasaki’s cross with aplomb with a volley into the top of Hitoshi Sogahata’s net.
Gamba Osaka could have gone level on points with the side that defeated them in the Yamazaki Nabisco Cup final last term, but Kenta Hasegawa’s side slipped to their second defeat of the season in a 2-1 loss at Vissel Kobe.
The 2014 champions are therefore overtaken in the table by Nagoya Grampus who pulled off a 2-1 win over Vegalta Sendai, Kisho Yano netting the winner five minutes after Ramon Lopes had cancelled out Robin Simovic’s opener.
Kashiwa Reysol were unable to hold onto their lead at Albirex Niigata meanwhile, drawing 2-2 following Kazunari Ono’s equaliser in the 95th minute.
Earlier in the day, Yokohama F.Marinos picked up their second victory of the campaign with a 2-1 result over Sagan Tosu, while promoted sides Jubilo Iwata and Avispa Fukuoka played out a 2-2 thriller at Yamaha Stadium – Jay Bothroyd bagging both the home side’s goals.