Defending champions Sanfrecce Hiroshima returned to the top of the J.League after coming from behind to beat Shimizu S-Pulse 3-1 on Saturday. Genki Omae gave mid-table S-Pulse a 71st-minute lead from the penalty spot, but Tsukasa Shiotani equalised five minutes later before 19-year-old substitute Gakuto Notsuda scored twice to lift Sanfrecce above Yokohama Marinos with six games of the season remaining.
Marinos drew 0-0 with Ventforet Kofu for their second scoreless draw in as many weeks, and face Sanfrecce at home in their next game when the league resumes after the international break on 19 October.
"The players responded to conceding a goal in the right way," said Sanfrecce manager Hajime Moriyasu. "They showed their mental strength and their desire to win."
Urawa Red Diamonds stayed two points behind the leaders after thrashing local rivals Omiya Ardija 4-0 at home. Omiya's Australia captain Lucas Neill was sent off after conceding a penalty in the 9th minute, which Yuki Abe converted before second-half goals from Genki Haraguchi, Shinzo Koroki and Kunimitsu Sekiguchi completed the rout.
Kashima Antlers stayed in title contention one point behind Urawa after a 4-1 away win over FC Tokyo. Yasushi Endo and Davi gave Antlers a two-goal lead within the opening ten minutes, before Mitsuo Ogasawara and Yuya Osako made Sota Hirayama's late strike a mere consolation for Tokyo.
Trinita slump to relegation
At the other end of the table, Oita Trinita became the first side to be relegated from the first division after a 2-0 loss to Cerezo Osaka.
Trinita were promoted last season via the J.League's first-ever second-division playoffs despite finishing the campaign in sixth, but goals from Cerezo's Takumi Minamino and Edno sent them straight back down with only one win to their name so far.
Three-times champions Jubilo Iwata moved a step closer to joining Trinita in the second division next season after a 1-1 draw with Vegalta Sendai, while fellow strugglers Shonan Bellmare also drew 1-1 with Nagoya Grampus. In the day's other game, Albirex Niigata beat Sagan Tosu 3-1.