Midfielder Junya Tanaka helped Kashiwa Reysol stretch their J-League lead with a brace of goals, leading his side to a 3-0 victory over Vissel Kobe today.
Brazilian midfielder Leandro Domingues provided the cross for Tanaka's opener in the 21st minute and he struck home again just three minutes later. Domingues himself added another in the 73rd minute.
"I couldn't score in the previous four games, so personally I feel like I really wanted to score today. Leandro gave me a nice pass for the first goal," said a jubilant Tanaka.
"It's a valuable experience that I scored a goal in the first division. I gained a lot of confidence. Hopefully I can score again in our next game," he added.
Kashiwa's Brazilian coach Nelsinho said they were under intense pressure and could not find their own rhythm at the start of the match.
"But once we started to counter attack, we got into our rhythm and exchanged passes calmly. We scored two goals in the first half and we were able to play a nice game. We coped with our opponents very well in the second half," he said.
Kashiwa have now six wins, one draw and one defeat this season and, with 19 points, are three above Vegalta Sendai and four clear of Yokohama F Marinos.
Sendai remained unbeaten in eight games this season, drawing with Yokohama 1-1 as Shingo Akamine's goal was cancelled out by Hiroyuki Taniguchi in the 69th minute.
All the other matches were draws, with Urawa Red Diamonds and Albirex Niigata finishing 1-1, Shimizu S-Pulse and Jubilo Iwata ending goalless, and Fentforet Kofu and Montedio Yamagata drawing 1-1.