Kashima open up two-point lead

Kashima Antlers bounced back from successive defeats to take a two-point lead at the top of the J.League standings with a 3-1 win at Yokohama F Marinos.

Antlers suffered losses to Tokyo in the J.League Cup and at home to Cerezo Osaka prior to their trip to Yokohama, and it all looked to be going awry for them again when national team defender Yuzo Kurihara gave the hosts a 42nd-minute lead. But the Antlers stormed back with second-half goals from Shoma Doi (54), Takuya Nozawa (80) and Gaku Shibasaki (88).

Cerezo failed to keep pace with Kashima as they were held to a goalless draw at home to Albirex Niigata. Reigning champions Sanfrecce Hiroshima joined Cerezo on ten points with a 3-1 home victory over Tokushima Vortis.

Tsukasa Shiotani gave Sanfrecce a 44th-minute lead with his third J.League goal of the season before Naoki Ishihara (49) and Gakuto Notsuda (66) made the result safe. Hiroyuki Takasaki pulled one back for the visitors but to no avail, as they still look for their first point with five matches now played.

Sagan Tosu had lost their last two games but responded with a 2-0 win at home to Gamba Osaka which left them a point behind Cerezo Osaka and Hiroshima. Yohei Toyoda moved joint top of the goalscorers' standings with his fourth of the season to put Sagan 1-0 up in the 72nd minute and South Korean midfielder Kim Min-Woo (83) wrapped up the points.

Second-bottom Vegalta Sendai are still without a win as they were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Ventforet Kofu, for whom this was a third draw in five games. Makoto Kakuda put Sendai ahead in the 37th minute but the visitors shared the points when Naoki Aoyama was on target with 13 minutes to go.

Tokyo leapfrogged Shimizu S-Pulse and climbed out of the relegation places by beating them 3-1 at Shimizu's own IAI Stadium in Shizuoka. Shun Nagasawa put the hosts ahead in the fifth minute but the capital club stormed back with goals from Hiroki Kawano (44), Masato Morishige (56) and Takuji Yonemoto (81).

Vissel Kobe moved above Urawa Reds with a 3-1 home victory over them which took them to seventh. Tsukasa Umesaki (35) gave the Reds a first-half lead but a double from Pedro Junior - his third and fourth J-League goals of the season - gave Kobe the advantage and Marquinhos gave them a two-goal cushion a minute into stoppage time.

The day's other game between Kashiwa Reysol and Omiya Ardija finished 2-2. Shohei Takahashi struck twice in the last seven minutes to clinch a point for Omiya, who had fallen behind to goals from Wataru Hashimoto (27) and Masato Kudo (52).