Kashima held by Yokohama
© AFP

Defending champions Kashima Antlers were held to a goalless draw by Yokohama Marinos on Saturday but stay top of the J.League on goal difference.

Yokohama had the best chance of the first half with midfielder Shingo Hyodo hitting a post, while Kashima controlled the second half, but neither side could muster a goal.

"In our previous games, we gained three points from a win, although we didn't play well. We played better today but we couldn't score," said Kashima's Brazilian coach Oswaldo Oliveira.

Kashima are top, ahead of Urawa Red Diamonds on goal difference, followed by Albirex Niigata in third.

Brazilian Edmilson scored on seven minutes to give Urawa a 1-0 win over Kyoto Purple Sanga. Another Brazilian, Pedro Junior, scored a hat-trick for Albirex Niigata, but they were held to a 3-3 draw by Sanfrecce Hiroshima.

In the day's other games, Nagoya Grampus defeated Kashiwa Reysol 2-1 with Brazilian striker Davi scoring twice, once in injury time, while Kawasaki Frontale scored two goals late on to beat Omiya Ardija 3-1.

JEF United Chiba scored twice in the last four minutes to beat FC Tokyo 2-1 for their first win of the season. Gamba Osaka are fourth after they beat Montedio Yamagata 2-1 on Friday.