Former Asian club champions Urawa Red Diamonds powered their way through to a 2-1 victory over Shonan Bellmare on Saturday to move up to third place in the J-League standings.
Forward Tatsuya Tanaka was bought down by defender Daisuke Muramatsu in the area, allowing Brazilian midfielder Ponte to duly flick in the following penalty shot shortly before the break.
In the 56th minute, Japan international midfielder Yuki Abe was pulled down just outside the penalty area, and Abe himself hit a free kick, which picked up a deflection off a defender before going in. Shonan, who hit only seven shots on goal against Urawa's 23, managed to pull one back in injury time through Genki Nakayama from a cross by Koji Sakamoto.
Urawa have now three wins, one draw and one defeat for 10 points. That places them third in the J-League standings behind second-placed Kashima Antlers, who are equal on points but ahead on goal difference and have a game in hand.
Shimizu S-Pulse took the interim lead on 11 points. Japan international forward Shinji Okazaki scored twice to give Shimizu a 2-1 win over Yokohama Marinos, while Kashima were to play Vegalta Sendai on Sunday.
In other games, Montenegrin midfielder Igor Burzanovic helped Nagoya Grampus beat Vissel Kobe with a brace. Cerezo Osaka posted their first win of the season beating Kyoto Sanga 3-1, Montedio Yamagata edged past Sanfrecce Hiroshima 1-0, and Albirex Niigata drew with Omiya Ardija 0-0.