Sanfrecce just lead, Vegalta miss chance
Sanfrecce Hiroshima were held to a 2-2 draw by Kashima Antlers today but cling on to top spot in the J.League by the narrowest of margins. The visitors led through a 40th-minute goal by Hisato Sato but were pegged back by Yuya Osako's equaliser on the stroke of half-time.
Ryota Moriwaki restored Sanfrecce's advantage at the start of the second half but Osako struck again after 74 minutes to secure a point for Kashima.
Sanfrecce's nearest challengers Vegalta Sendai also played out a draw, 1-1 with Sagan Tosu, to ensure they remain level on points with the leaders. The clubs are also inseparable on goal difference but Sanfrecce have scored four more goals than their rivals and retain the edge.
Vegalta trailed to Sagan after 14 minutes through Yohei Toyoda, but Shingo Akamine levelled 15 minutes later. Urawa Red Diamonds closed the gap on the top two to three points with a 2-0 win over Jubilo Iwata. Yosuke Kashiwagi (36) and Yuki Abe (78) were the scorers.
Kashiwa Reysol are four points from the summit after a 4-1 rout of Cerezo Osaka. Masato Kudo grabbed a hat-trick for the home side with Masakatsu Sawa also on target. Cerezo's reply came from Ryuji Bando.
At the other end of the table, basement side Consadole Sapporo enjoyed only their second win of the season, beating Nagoya Grampus Eight 2-1 with a last-minute strike from Shinya Uehara. Consadole had led through Masaki Yamamoto with Marcus Tanaka equalising for Nagoya before Uehara's late heroics. The win sees Consadole close the gap on Gamba Osaka above them to seven points.
Gamba played out a 1-1 draw at Vissel Kobe, with Takahiro Futagawa's opener for the visitors cancelled out by Yoshito Okubo. Goals from Marcos Marquinhos, Masashi Oguro and Shingo Hyodo earned Yokohama F.Marinos a 3-0 victory over Shimizu S-Pulse.
Kawasaki Frontale were 4-1 winners over Omiya Ardija. Kengo Nakamura, Yu Kobayashi, Jumpei Kusukami and Calixto Renato were the scorers for Kawasaki after Yu Hasegawa had given the visitors the lead. FC Tokyo beat Albirex Niigata 2-0 courtesy of strikes from Yuta Mikado and Alan Mineiro.