Nagoya hold on to J-League lead

J-League football leaders Nagoya Grampus held Asian club champions Urawa Red Diamonds to a 1-1 draw to stay narrowly ahead in the standings on Sunday.

Brazilian striker Edmilson struck home from close range from a Takahito Soma pass in the 40th minute to take a lead for Urawa, but Yuki Maki nodded home an equalizer only two minutes after the break.

The result put Nagoya one point ahead of Oita Trinita with 15 wins, four draws and eight defeats for 49 points. Oita lost to Yokohama Marinos 1-0 on Saturday.

They were followed by defending champions Kashima Antlers and Urawa on 46 points, and Kawasaki Frontale and FC Tokyo on 45 points.

Kashima crashed Shimizu S-Pulse 2-0 with Takeshi Aoki and Brazilian top goal scorer Marquinhos on target. "It was good that we didn't concede a goal today. S-Pulse reached the J-League Cup final and they are in pretty good form, playing a good game," said Kashima's Brazilian coach Oswaldo Oliveira.

"So today's victory against such a high-level team was very important. It gives us confidence. Hopefully, we can keep the momentum," he added.

FC Tokyo coasted to their fifth straight win by beating bottom placers Consadole Sapporo 2-1.

In other games, former champions Jubilo Iwata scored their first win in 10 games, beating Albirex Niigata 1-0 with Ryoichi Maeda's goal on a penalty in the 22nd minute after Brazilian Gilsinho was brought down in the area. Gamba Osaka were 3-1 winners over Tokyo Verdy.