Yokohama F Marinos went top of the J.League despite seeing their five-match winning streak ended by a 1-1 draw at lowly Omiya Ardija today.
With previous pacesetters Kashiwa Reysol losing 3-2 at Kawasaki Frontale yesterday, Yokohama had the chance to claim first place and they put themselves on course to achieve that by taking a 37th-minute lead against Omiya through Yuji Ono.
Yokohama could not hold onto that advantage as Rafael Marques drew 13th-placed Omiya level 16 minutes from the end, but the draw was still enough to send them top, albeit only on goal difference from Kashiwa.
Nagoya draw near to leaders
Reigning champions Nagoya Grampus climbed up to third with a 2-0 win at second-bottom Montedio Yamagata. Leading scorer Keiji Tamada netted the opener in the 43rd minute and Joshua Kennedy added a second in the 57th minute for Nagoya, who are now four points behind the top two and have a game in hand.
In today's other two matches, Kashima Antlers defeated Vegalta Sendai 3-0 and Jubilo Iwata salvaged a last-gasp 1-1 draw at home to Urawa Red Diamonds. Two goals in the opening 18 minutes from Chikashi Masuda and Takuya Nozawa set Kashima on their way to a first victory in five games before Yuzo Tashiro wrapped up the scoring in the 69th minute.
Draw specialists Urawa looked poised to record only a fourth win of the campaign as they led by Yosuke Kashiwagi's 29th-minute strike heading into the closing stages at Jubilo. But they were consigned to a league-leading ninth tie after conceding a 90th-minute penalty by Ryoichi Maeda.