Shimizu S-Pulse went top of the J-League on Saturday with a lucky late win as front-runners Urawa Red Diamonds crashed to a 1-0 defeat to Jubilo Iwata.
Masaki Yamamoto's cross from the right went straight in in the 86th minute to give Shimizu a 2-1 win over Omiya Ardija. "I have a strange feeling because it was a cross, but a goal is a goal," admitted a jubilant Yamamoto.
"We couldn't take the initiative in the first half because of Omiya's tight defence. But we started very well in the second half playing in our rhythm," said Shimizu coach Kenta Hasegawa. "After 1-1, Omiya played aggressively, trying to take three points from a win, but Yamamoto scored a lucky goal. My players' strong will to win at home resulted in such a lucky goal."
Marquinhos lifts Antlers
Shimizu have 18 points, two points above Urawa and Kawasaki Frontale, and three points above Kashima Antlers in fourth. Brazilian striker Marquinhos scored one and made another to inspire defending champions Kashima to a 3-1 win over Yokohama Marinos.
South Korean defender Lee Jung-Soo opened the scoring in the 21st minute when he nodded home a free-kick from skipper Mitsuo Ogasawara. After Yokohama made it 1-1, Kashima dominated the second half with Marquinhos setting up Ogasawara's goal in the 51st minute and then the Brazilian fired home to consolidate victory on the hour.
"We adjusted our play in the second half and our third goal symbolised that our tactics worked pretty well," said Kashima's Brazilian coach Oswaldo Oliveira. "Our team was organised very well to stop Yokohama attacks. My players did a very good job."
Kawasaki overwhelmed Vissel Kobe 3-0, while Montedio Yamagata scored a decider in injury time to beat Kyoto Sanga 2-1. Gamba Osaka blanked FC Tokyo 2-0, and Albirex Niigata drew with Sanfrecce Hiroshima 2-2.