Shimizu top J-League after 5-1 mauling
© AFP

Unbeaten Shimizu S-Pulse returned to the top of the J-League Sunday after a 5-1 mauling of Vegalta Sendai.

Norwegian forward Frode Johnsen opened the scoring in the 26th minute, with four other players finding the scoresheet.

Johnsen, Takuya Honda, Yasuhiro Hiraoka and Yuichiro Nagai all netted their first goals of the season as Shimizu romped into a 5-0 lead before conceding a late goal.

We hadn't played Sendai before and I didn't know how they would play, but we went into the game in very good rhythm and scored the first goal.
Shimizu coach Kenta Hasegawa after the easy victory

"We hadn't played Sendai before and I didn't know how they would play, but we went into the game in very good rhythm and scored the first goal," said Shimizu coach Kenta Hasegawa. "It made us more comfortable that we scored the second goal in the first half. At the end, I told my players to move up, then we suffered a counter-attack and lost a goal," he added.

Shimizu are the only unbeaten team in the top league with four wins and two draws for 14 points, one point above Urawa and Kawasaki Frontale, and two points clear of Nagoya Grampus.

On Saturday, Japanese international midfielder Yuki Abe scored a second-half brace to give Urawa a 2-0 win over winless Albirex Niigata, while Kawasaki enjoyed a comfortable 3-0 win over Sanfrecce Hiroshima.

In the only other game on Sunday, Montedio Yamagata defeated Vissel Kobe 2-0.