Japan international striker Keiji Tamada scored a hat-trick to lead Nagoya Grampus to a 5-1 win over Shimizu S-Pulse on today, stretching their lead to seven points in the J-League standings.
Three minutes after going down 0-1, Tamada collected a rebound off a left corner for an equaliser in the 50th minute, and then Australian international striker Joshua Kennedy headed home to make it 2-1 in the 58th minute. Tamada completed the hat-trick with two more, in the 62nd and 71st minute, and the Australian scored the final goal in the 83rd.
"When our three forwards are playing badly, we simply try to attack from the both sides with Kennedy in the centre. But today, we were able to attack in various styles," said Tamada. "I think that resulted in five goals. It's the best to take the offensive in several different ways. I think it puzzled our opponents," he added.
Nagoya now have 16 wins, three draws and five defeats for 51 points ahead of defending champions Kashima Antlers on 44 points, Gamba Osaka on 43 points, and Cerezo Osaka on 41 points.
Kashima drew with Sanfrecce Hiroshima after their forward Yuya Osako struck home an equaliser two minutes into injury time, while Cerezo Osaka fought it out to a goalless draw with Vissel Kobe.
Kashima's Brazilian coach Oswaldo Oliveira said, "It was a game we could have taken three points from a win, because we kept taking the initiative. Although we lost the first goal, we created more chances. If we had taken one of those chances, we would have taken three points."
Brazilian forward Lucas helped Gamba Osaka beat Kawasaki Frontale 2-1 with a 26-metre shot for the decider with five minutes left on the clock. In other games, Urawa Red Diamonds won 2-0 over Albirex Niigata with Yosuke Kashiwagi and Sergio Escudero scoring, while Omiya Ardija beat FC Tokyo 1-0.Montedio Yamagata and Shonan Bellmare drew 1-1, while Jubilo Iwata defeated Kyoto Sanga 1-0.