Shimizu still in title race
Takuma Edamura scored twice as Shimizu S-Pulse kept up their faint hopes of catching runaway leaders Kashima Antlers after easing to a 5-1 win over Jubilo Iwata. Keisuke Iwashita sent the home side on their way after just two minutes before Edamura doubled the advantage eight minutes later.
Akihiro Hyodo added a third midway through the first half, while Ryoichi Maeda gave the visitors hope a minute before half-time. But the home side continued to control the contest after the break and Edamura restored the three goal cushion just before the hour mark before Shinji Okazaki sealed the win with 15 minutes remaining.
Shimizu moved up to third place level on points with second-placed Kawasaki Frontale, who face Montedio Yamagata tomorrow, eight points adrift of Kashima, who entertain FC Tokyo tomorrow.
Urawa suffer sixth straight defeat
Sanfrecce Hiroshima moved up to fourth place, two points further off the pace in the pack chasing Kashima, after Tomoaki Makino and Yosuke Kashiwagi scored in the first half to secure a 2-1 win over Urawa Red Diamonds. The seventh-placed Reds pulled a goal back with 21 minutes remaining through Marcus Tulio Tanaka, but failed to find a second to remain 13 points adrift of Kashima.
Defender Makino opened the scoring in the 26th minute when he fired a right-footer from outside the area into the left-hand corner. Midfielder Kashiwagi made it 2-0 when he scored in the 42nd minute, before Brazilian-born Japan international Marcus Tulio Tanaka found the net in the 68th minute. It was Hiroshima's first win over Urawa in ten years.
"We played an excellent game against the team that we hadn't [beaten] for many years and we won it. I'm really happy about it," said Kashiwagi.
"We've not been losing goals recently with our tight defence. I think that resulted in this win against powerhouse Urawa. We are improving day by day. Hopefully, we can continue like this."
Elsewhere, Albirex Niigata dropped to fifth, a point behind fourth-placed Sanfrecce, after suffering a 2-1 home defeat by Kyoto Purple Sanga. And Yuji Nakazawa's 88th-minute own goal handed Kashiwa Reysol a 1-1 draw with Yokohama F. Marinos, while JEF United shared a 1-1 draw with Omiya Ardija.