Shimizu slip to defeat
In-form Albirex Niigata handed J. League leaders Shimizu S-Pulse a first defeat of the season after recording a 2-0 win today. With Shimizu without suspended trio Shinji Ono, Kosuke Ohta and Eddy Bosnar, Daigo Nishi headed home for the visitors after 19 minutes from Marcio Richardes' corner.
And two minutes before the break Brazilian striker Michael added a second with a smart finish from inside the area after combining with Isao Honma. Shimizu improved after the break, but were unable to deny Albirex a third consecutive win.
"I wish our players could have played more aggressively in the first half," said Shimizu manager Kenta Hasegawa. "It's very difficult to turn the table upside down after going down to 2-0."
Albirex, who extended their unbeaten streak to five games, moved up to eighth as Shimizu failed to extend their four-point advantage over Kawasaki Frontale, who have a game in hand, while Nagoya Grampus can move within two points of the leaders with a win over Vegalta Sendai tomorrow.
"Each one of our players did what they had to do," said Niigata manager Hisashi Kurosakid. "Without Ono, they didn't have the imagination in the attacking zone as much as they have with him and it helped our defending."
Urawa Red Diamonds failed to take advantage to move within two points of the leaders as Kazuma Watanabe scored twice to hand Yokohama F. Marinos a 3-2 win in Saitama. Watanabe opened the scoring after just six minutes after good work from Shunsuke Nakamura only for Yosuke Kashiwagi to pull the home side level 14 miutes later.
Shingo Hyodo restored the Marinos' lead on the stroke of half-time only for Brazilian striker Edmilson to equalise for the Reds four minutes after the break. But on the hour mark Koji Yamase set up Watanabe to add a second to lift the Marinos up to sixth after handing the fourth-placed Reds a fourth defeat in 11 games. Finally, Hiroto Mogi, Yoshito Okubo and Brazilian midfielder Popo scored as Vissel Kobe beat Jubilo Iwata 3-0.