Sanfrecce take edge in Sendai showdown
Takahagi Yojiro scored a decider to lift Sanfrecce Hiroshima on top of the table by beating Vegalta Sendai 2-1 in the J.League.
Kazuyuki Morisaki opened the scoring for Sanfrecce in the 48th minute, while Shingo Akamine struck home an equaliser in the 70th, but Takahagi flicked in a rebound in front of the goalmouth in the 78th to clinch the victory.
Sanfrecce took a two-point lead in the J-League standings on 47, ahead of Vegalta and Urawa Red Diamonds on 45 points, and Jubilo Iwata and Nagoya Grampus both on 41.
"It was a battle for the top of the table. We wanted to win it at any rate. My players ran and fought for the victory - that ended in this victory," said Sanfrecce coach Hajime Moriyasu. "We've been losing at home recently, so I really wanted to win today. I'm really glad that we can show our supporters that we took the lead again."
Urawa defeated Yokohama F Marinos 2-1 thanks to Tomoaki Makino's decider in the 64th minute, while Jubilo defeated Vissel Kobe 2-1. Nagoya beat Cerezo Osaka 2-0, with Australian international striker Joshua Kennedy scoring.
In other games, defending champions Kashiwa Reysol downed bottom-placed Consadole Sapporo 3-1, Omiya Ardija outclassed Sagan Tosu 1-0, and Kashima Antlers drew with Kawasaki Frontale 2-2. FC Tokyo and Shimizu S-Pulse drew 1-1, and Gamba Osaka and Albirex Niigata also ended with a 1-1 draw.