Joy for Kashiwa, Yamagata relegated
J.League leaders Kashiwa Reysol overwhelmed Albirex Niigata 4-0 today to secure a place in the top three of the table, thereby earning a route into the AFC Champions League next season.
Brazilian midfielder Leandro Domingues scored twice and compatriot Jorge Wagner once to lead Kashiwa to an easy victory, with Junya Tanaka adding another in injury time.
Kashiwa's Brazilian coach Nelsinho said: "It was one of our goals to reach the Champions League. We made it. Everybody is fighting to win the league title. We are now top in the standings and we can win the title by ourselves. It is apparent that we can win the title if we can keep winning the remaining games. We are ready to do that."
With three games each left in the season, Kashiwa have 65 points, two points above Gamba Osaka and three points above defending champions Nagoya Grampus. Yokohama F Marinos cannot win the title as they are on 55 points.
Brazilian Rafinha scored the only goal to give Gamba a 1-0 win over seven-time former champions Kashima Antlers, while Nagoya defeated Cerezo Osaka 3-1.
Yokohama staged a come-from-behind victory in the last four minutes, with Masashi Oguro and Kentaro Moriya scoring two goals to beat Ventforet Kofu 2-1.
Meanwhile, Montedio Yamagata became the second team to be relegated to the second division next season when they went down to Vissel Kobe 2-0, joining Avispa Fukuoka, who were relegated a week earlier. The bottom three teams will be relegated.
In other games, Vegalta Sendai and Sanfrecce Hiroshima shared a goalless draw, Omiya Ardija defeated Kawasaki Frontale 1-0, Jubilo Iwata downed Urawa Red Diamonds 3-0, and Fukuoka held Shimizu S-Pulse to a 2-2 draw.