Upset moves Niigata into second place

Albirex Niigata upset defending champions Kashima Antlers 2-1 to maintain their 100 per cent record after two games and move up to second place. Niigata took an early lead through the forward duo of Kishio Yano and Brazilian Pedro Junior in the 9th and 12th minutes, before Kashima managed to pull one back in injury time through Daiki Iwamasa.

"We were 2-0 behind in the first half, which was a shock mentally. We also conceded two goals consecutively in a short period before. When you play games, it happens to either team," said Kashima's Brazilian coach Oswaldo Oliveira.

Niigata coach Jun Suzuki said: "It was a game we should have ended 2-0, but we lost a goal in injury time. We must think over it. It left an unpleasant taste in the mouth because of that goal we lost."

In the only other game on 15 March, Omiya Ardija twice came back from a goal down to beat Sanfrecce Hiroshima 3-2, thanks largely to Croatian defender Mato Neretljak. He scored two goals including a penalty in the 41st minute.

On 14 March, Asian club champions Gamba Osaka defeated Jubilo Iwata 4-1 to take the lead in the standings on six points, with a better goal difference than Niigata. Former Asian club champions Urawa Red Diamonds defeated Tokyo 3-1, while Nagoya Grampus were held to a goalless draw by Montedio Yamagata.