Melbourne Victory boosted their hopes of reaching the AFC Champions League knockout stage with a 1-0 win over Yokohama Marinos.
Kosta Barbarouses scored the only goal in the ninth minute to move the Australian side on to four points from three games in Group G, while the three-time J.League winners remain bottom on one point. The New Zealand striker steamed on to a through-ball from James Jeggo to beat Yokohama goalkeeper Tetsuya Enomoto for the decisive goal.
While Yokohama Marinos dominated the match with their passing and movement, they paid for their poor finishing. Unmarked Yoshihito Fujita botched a great chance with 12 minutes left.
Substitute Jungo Fujimoto also cannoned a free-kick off the crossbar and impressive left-winger Manabu Saito fired a chance wide to the anguish of coach Yasuhiro Higuchi.
The Victory also had their chances, with Barbarouses having two goals disallowed for offside in the second-half and coming close to scoring another nearing half-time.
"We went ahead quite early and we defended much better than we have lately," said Barbarouses. "It's our first clean sheet since December. It's good that we can see games out and on another day I could have had two or three goals."
The two teams meet again in Yokohama on 2 April.