Korea Republic international Lee Jung-Soo scored the winner as defending champions Kashima Antlers beat Kawasaki Frontale 2-1 to knock Shimizu S-Pulse off the top of the J-League table Saturday.
The 30-year-old defender met Takuya Nozawa's corner with a firm header in the 78th minute to give Kashima the 2-1 lead that they held until the final whistle. Earlier, Brazilian midfielder Fellype Gabriel opened the scoring for Kashima when he pounced on a poor clearance by Kawasaki midfielder Junichi Inamoto in the 21st minute.
Kawasaki drew level in the 39th minute with a sizzling left foot strike from forward Masaru Kurotsu before being reduced to 10 men. Lee, who scored two goals for the South Koreans in the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ in South Africa, played down his match-winning effort 12 minutes from time. "It was a very good corner, so it was very easy for me to score," he said after the game.
Kashima have now eight wins, three draws and two defeats for 27 points, one point ahead of Shimizu S-Pulse, who were held to a goalless draw by Jubilo Iwata. They are followed by Nagoya Grampus on 25 points, Kawasaki on 21 points, and Cerezo Osaka and Urawa Red Diamonds on 20 points. Australian international striker Joshua Blake Kennedy scored a towering header off a cross from Brazilian-born Japan international Marcus Tulio Tanaka in the 76th minute to give Nagoya a 1-0 win over Omiya Ardija.
Cerezo Osaka came back from a goal down to draw with Albirex Niigata 1-1, while Urawa were to play Gamba Osaka on Sunday. In other games, Vissel Kobe stormed back from a 0-2 down to draw with FC Tokyo 2-2 with an equalizer by international striker Yoshito Okubo in injury time, while Montedio Yamagata whipped Vegalta Sendai 3-1.