FC Tokyo held by JEF
© AFP

FC Tokyo failed to catch up with the front-runners when they were held to a 1-1 draw by bottom-of-the-table JEF United Chiba in the J-League on Sunday.

Tokyo found themselves a man down after just seven minutes when Yasuyuki Konno was sent off. However, goalkeeper Hitoshi Shiota managed to keep them level by saving the resulting Reinaldo penalty.

And, despite being a man down Tokyo took the lead through defender Hideki Sahara's header from a corner in the 39th minute. But they were unable to maintain the lead and Reinaldo made up for his earlier mistake by nodding home an equaliser for JEF in the 68th minute.

"I hadn't expected us to have a player sent off so early into the match. My players did pretty well with only 10 men for 80 minutes in the rain," Tokyo coach Hiroshi Jofuku said.

The draw left Tokyo fifth with 24 points. Urawa Red Diamonds and Nagoya Grampus top the table with 26 points, while defending champions Kashima Antlers and Gamba Osaka have 25. JEF remain bottom with nine points, one behind Consadole Sapporo but seven adrift of third-bottom Vissel Kobe.

In other games Sunday, Osaka thrashed Consadole Sapporo 4-2, with Brazilian striker Bare scoring two, while Oita edged past Vissel Kobe 1-0 with defender Masato Morishige scoring the winner four minutes before the break.

On Saturday, Kashima beat Nagoya 4-0 to close in on Asian club champions Urawa, who crashed to a 2-1 defeat to Kashiwa, while Omiya beat Tokyo Verdy 2-0.