Oita end Shimizu run
Shimizu S-Pulse missed the chance to climb to the top of the table as they slumped to a 2-1 defeat at Oita Trinita. The loss brought to an end Shimizu's run of 13 games unbeaten and they remain in fourth place with 50 points, two behind leaders Kawasaki Frontale.
For Oita, any result other than victory would have seen them relegated to Division Two and things looked bad when Shimizu went ahead in the 51st minute through defender Keisuke Iwashita.
But the hosts showed resolve to level the scores nine minutes later through Daiki Takamatsu, before the 29-year-old former Japan international was on target again in the 79th minute, heading home a fine cross from Akihiro Ienaga.
"Oita were the better side today," said Shimizu manager Kenta Hasegawa. "The Oita players' determination and desire to win was much stronger than ours, and that was shown in the outcome of the game."
Match-winner Takamatsu believes the win gives him and his fellow team-mates hope for the remainder of the season.
"I'm glad we won today," he said. "My team-mates were playing well to set up my goals and all I had to do was to put the ball into the net.
"None of us has given up the hope of remaining in the first division and we won't until it is no longer possible."
Brazilian forward Diego struck in the 87th minute to snatch a 1-1 draw for Kyoto Sanga at JEF United Chiba. Chiba, who are just one place above the bottom of the table, went ahead in the 35th minute thanks to a fine volley from Tatsunori Arai.
The hosts could have increased their lead on numerous occasions through former Japan forward Seiichiro Maki, but his efforts either flew wide or were denied by Kyoto goalkeeper Yuichi Mizutani. And Chiba were made to rue their profligacy when Diego levelled with three minutes remaining.