Kashiwa sack Takahashi
Kashiwa Reysol have followed in the footsteps of fellow J. League strugglers Oita Trinita and sacked coach Shinichiro Takahashi.
Oita, who have fired Brazilian Pericles Chamusca, are 11 points adrift at the foot of the table, but second-bottom Kashiwa are in a much better position and are still well in touch of safety at the midway point of the season.
Kashiwa have collected 15 points from 17 games and are just four points behind 15th-placed JEF United in the 18-team division, from which three teams will be relegated.
However, the club have opted to part company with Takahashi, 51, with assistant and former Japan international Masami Ihara taking over for this weekend's meeting with Gamba Osaka. The former was promoted from assistant at the start of the season following the departure of Nobuhiro Ishizaki.
Kashiwa are believed to have already lined up a replacement with 58-year-old Brazilian Nelsinho, the former coach of Tokyo Verdy and Nagoya Grampus Eight, expected to be appointed to lead the survival bid.
Nelsinho enjoyed a successful stint at Verdy before joining Nagoya for two years from 2003, and is expected to take over at Kashiwa for the 25 July meeting with two-time defending champions and runaway leaders Kashima Antlers.