Monday 30 July 2012

Japan’s men and women safely through the Olympic group stages



Japan’s Olympic footballers have enjoyed a hugely impressive start to their medal quests in the United Kingdom, with both the men’s and women’s teams securing qualification for the quarter-finals with a game to spare.

24 hours before the spectacular opening ceremony in London, Takashi Sekizuka’s side pulled off the first real shock of the 2012 Games by beating the favourites Spain 1-0 at Hampden Park in Glasgow. Yuki Otsu slotted home from a Takahiro Ogihara corner on 34 minutes to stun the Spanish, who had Inigo Martinez sent off just before half time for pulling down Kensuke Nagai.

Nagai was then the hero in the early hours of this morning Japanese time with a late winner to see off Morocco in Newcastle.

Japan were made to work hard for their second straight 1-0 victory but recovered from a difficult start to slowly take control, with Maya Yoshida putting a free header wide just before the interval and Hiroshi Kiyotake cracking a shot against the crossbar early in the second period.

But with time running out, Nagai raced onto a lobbed pass from Kiyotake and beat the onrushing goalkeeper Mohamed Amsif to the ball, lofting it superbly into the vacated net from almost 30 yards.

A point from their final group game against Honduras on Wednesday will ensure top spot, thereby avoiding Brazil in the last eight.

Nadeshiko Japan beat Canada 2-1 in Coventry last Wednesday before a goalless draw with fellow women’s powerhouse Sweden at the same venue on Saturday guaranteed their progression from Group F.

Nahomi Kawasumi struck a terrific opener from a narrow angle to open the scoring against the Canadians after excellent work from Homare Sawa and Shinobu Ono, before a header from captain Aya Miyama doubled the advantage just before half time.

Melissa Tancredi pulled one back but Japan generally remained comfortable throughout. The only real issue appears to be a lack of decisiveness in front of goal; something that was again evident against Sweden as a succession of Nadeshiko stars missed chances to convert their domination into three points.

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In the J. League, Nagai’s parent club Nagoya Grampus felt the absence of their young starlet on Saturday as their title challenge was hit by an embarrassing 2-1 defeat away to bottom side Consadole Sapporo.

The hosts took the lead on ten minutes when Ramon, one of three new overseas players making their Consadole debuts, played in Masaki Yamamoto on the overlap to fire confidently past Yoshinari Takagi.

Grampus were level three minutes later when Marcus Tulio Tanaka, forced to play up front with Joshua Kennedy and Keiji Tamada also missing through injury, scrambled the ball home from a corner. But they lacked the necessary bite in front of goal and were made to pay in second half injury time when Shinya Uehara headed in a Yamamoto cross to give Sapporo only their second win of the season.

Albirex Niigata’s resurgence under new boss Masaaki Yanagishita continued with a 2-0 victory away to FC Tokyo that takes them out of the relegation zone for the first time since April. Yuta Mikado fired home through a crowd of players before Alan Mineiro finished off a classy passing move with a fine shot from a difficult angle.

Gamba Osaka remain six points adrift of safety despite a 1-1 draw away to Vissel Kobe, now managed by former Gamba boss Akira Nishino, with Omiya Ardija the new target in 15th after their 4-1 drubbing at Kawasaki Frontale took them below Niigata on goal difference. Cerezo Osaka fell into the bottom three after losing by the same margin away to Kashiwa Reysol.

The reigning champions are now just four points off the summit in fourth following draws for each of the top two; Sanfrecce Hiroshima pegged back to 2-2 at Kashima Antlers and Vegalta Sendai held 1-1 at home to Sagan Tosu.

Urawa Reds are three points behind the leaders after beating Jubilo Iwata 2-0 to extend their unbeaten run to ten. Meanwhile, Yokohama F Marinos are up to sixth and unbeaten in a dozen league matches thanks to a 3-0 rout of Shimizu S-Pulse, now winless in nine.


TALKING POINTS
- Ventforet Kofu beat Tokyo Verdy 3-1 on Sunday evening to take over at the top of J2.
- Shinji Kagawa scored his first goal for Manchester United in a 1-0 friendly win over Shanghai Shenhua, controlling a cutback from Bébé to volley in from close range.


Olympic Games results – Men’s
GROUP D
Honduras 2-2 Morocco
Spain 0-1 Japan
Japan 1
-0 Morocco
Spain 0-1 Honduras

Olympic Games results – Women’s
GROUP F
Japan 2-1 Canada
Sweden 4-1 South Africa
Japan 0-0 Sweden
Canada 3-0 South Africa


J1 results (matchday 19)
Consadole Sapporo 2-1 Nagoya Grampus
Urawa Reds 2-0 Jubilo Iwata
Vegalta Sendai 1-1 Sagan Tosu
Kashima Antlers 2-2 Sanfrecce Hiroshima
FC Tokyo 0-2 Albirex Niigata
Kashiwa Reysol 4-1 Cerezo Osaka
Kawasaki Frontale 4-1 Omiya Ardija
Yokohama F Marinos 3-0 Shimizu S-Pulse
Vissel Kobe 1-1 Gamba Osaka


J2 results (matchday 26)
Tochigi SC 1-0 Mito HollyHock
Machida Zelvia 1-2 Kyoto Sanga
Ventforet Kofu 3-1 Tokyo Verdy
Kataller Toyama 0-0 Yokohama FC
Gainare Tottori 1-0 FC Gifu
Ehime FC 1-2 Oita Trinita
Avispa Fukuoka 0-3 Thespa Kusatsu
Shonan Bellmare 1-0 Giravanz Kitakyushu
Montedio Yamagata 1-1 Matsumoto Yamaga
Fagiano Okayama 0-1 JEF United Chiba
Roasso Kumamoto 0-3 Tokushima Vortis


Yamazaki Nabisco Cup quarter-final first leg results
Vegalta Sendai 2-2 FC Tokyo
Kashima Antlers 2-1 Cerezo Osaka
Shimizu S-Pulse 0-1 Nagoya Grampus
Gamba Osaka 1-3 Kashiwa Reysol

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Monday 23 July 2012

Del Piero stars in Team As One charity match



Alessandro del Piero was the undisputed star of Saturday night’s J. League Special Match at Kashima Stadium, which pitted a J. League Select XI against a Team As One side consisting of players from Kashima Antlers and Vegalta Sendai – the clubs hit most directly by last year’s earthquake and tsunami – as well as others born in the affected Tohoku region.

In front of over 23,000 spectators, including 131 elementary school children invited from the stricken prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima, Vegalta midfielder Ryang Yong-Gi took advantage of a mistake by Yuichi Komano to fire Team As One in front ten minutes before the interval.

But the moment everyone had hoped for came midway through the second half, when the former Juventus trequartista collected the ball from Daigo Nishi and casually fired a low shot past the unsighted Takanori Sugeno from around 25 yards out.

Sendai forward Shingo Akamine scored with a diving header almost immediately after the restart, before clubmate Yoshiaki Ota netted late on to complete a 4-0 victory for Team As One. The scoreline, however, mattered little on an evening set aside to remember the victims of last year’s tragedy and underline Japanese football’s continuing commitment to the recovery effort.

Del Piero was quoted by The Daily Yomiuri after the game as saying, “It was important to be here to give courage and strength not only to the north [of Japan] but to the whole country and its people, who have always supported me and always made me feel loved. So, the first thing I want to say is thank you, and the second is that I hope to come back soon, as I really like your country.”

Makoto Teguramori, the Vegalta manager who took charge of Team As One for this game, added “As players and club representatives from the affected region, we felt this was a game that we had to win... together with the J. League Select XI, I think we have been able to bring the joys of football to those affected by the disaster.”

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Meanwhile, the Japanese men’s U-23 team will go into Thursday’s Olympic Games opener against Spain full of confidence after beating Mexico 2-1 in their final warm-up match at the City Ground in Nottingham.

Takashi Sekizuka’s side got off to a perfect start when a mistake by Hector Herrera allowed them to break forward and score within the opening minute. Hiroshi Kiyotake played the ball to Kensuke Nagai, who burst down the right flank and squared across the six-yard box for Keigo Higashi to net at the far post.

This year’s Toulon Tournament champions quickly fought back to control proceedings on the front foot thereafter, finally equalising six minutes before half time with a powerful shot from 25 yards by Marco Fabian.

But Japan defended solidly throughout – as they will have to against Spain – and found a dramatic winner on 87 minutes when Yuki Otsu of Borussia Mönchengladbach spectacularly volleyed home on the bounce from just outside the Mexico penalty area.

There was no such encouragement for the world champion women’s team, however, as they were beaten 2-0 away to France in their last warm-up on Thursday. Nadeshiko Japan will face Canada in their Olympic opener this Wednesday.


TALKING POINTS
- Shinji Kagawa made a brief cameo at the very end of Manchester United’s 1-0 friendly win over AmaZulu last Wednesday, before starting and generally performing well in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Ajax Cape Town.
- JEF United Chiba lost 1-0 at home to Ventforet Kofu on Sunday evening and surrendered their lead at the top of J2 to Tokyo Verdy, who beat Roasso Kumamoto 2-0.


J. League Special Match result
J. League Team As One 4-0 J. League Select XI


J2 results (matchday 25)
Mito HollyHock 4-2 Avispa Fukuoka
Tokyo Verdy 2-0 Roasso Kumamoto
Yokohama FC 3-1 Gainare Tottori
Matsumoto Yamaga 3-0 Fagiano Okayama
Kataller Toyama 1-2 Tochigi SC
Oita Trinita 2-2 FC Gifu
Shonan Bellmare 0-0 Montedio Yamagata
Tokushima Vortis 1-1 Giravanz Kitakyushu
Thespa Kusatsu 1-1 Machida Zelvia
JEF United Chiba 0-1 Ventforet Kofu
Kyoto Sanga 2-1 Ehime FC

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Tuesday 17 July 2012

Quick-fire Hiroshima edge into top spot while Kashiwa win crazy eight-goal thriller



Sanfrecce Hiroshima stand atop the J. League table for the first time in over ten years after overhauling Vegalta Sendai on goals scored thanks to a 3-0 thrashing of Kawasaki Frontale on Saturday.

While the long-time leaders were still reasonably satisfied with a scoreless draw from their tough away fixture at Nagoya Grampus, Hajime Moriyasu’s side made easy work of the opportunity to pull level on points, netting all three goals within the first 19 minutes.

The opener from Kohei Shimizu was a real belter – volleying a Yojiro Takahagi corner directly into the opposite side of the net from just to the right of the D.

Kawasaki goalkeeper Yohei Nishibe then miscontrolled a backpass from Yusuke Igawa to allow Hisato Sato to steal in and move to second in the all-time J. League scorers’ list with 158 career goals, one ahead of Masashi ‘Gon’ Nakayama.

Sato headed another shortly afterwards to increase his seasonal tally to 14 – a clear six ahead of his closest rivals.

Third-placed Urawa Reds extended their unbeaten run to nine but are now five points behind the top two after drawing a blank away to improving Albirex Niigata.

Yuichi Komano corners found the head of Cho Byung-Kuk twice and Rodrigo Souto once for the Japan full-back to register three assists in fourth-placed Jubilo Iwata’s 4-1 drubbing of Consadole Sapporo – who have now lost 16 of their 18 league matches this season.

Tozin struck late for Sagan Tosu to seal a 1-0 win over FC Tokyo, while Shintaro Shimizu and Daisuke Watabe both notched their first ever J. League goals as Omiya Ardija drew 2-2 with Vissel Kobe.

Just six points now cover 11 teams, from Urawa in third all the way down to Kobe in 13th.

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Defending champions Kashiwa Reysol moved back up to fifth, just six points behind Hiroshima, after emerging victorious from an astonishing eight-goal thriller at Shimizu S-Pulse that featured three penalties and as many sendings off.

Shinji Ono missed the opportunity to finally register the hosts’ 1,000th J. League goal when his penalty flew wide of the post after Daisuke Nasu had been harshly penalised for handball.

He was made to pay when Leandro Domingues gave Kashiwa the lead from the spot on 33 minutes, following another handball by Keisuke Iwashita, but yet another penalty moments later allowed Genki Omae to hit the milestone goal for S-Pulse and restore parity.

Iwashita then saw red on half time for a late challenge on Masakatsu Sawa, but Naohiro Takahara’s twisting header put Shimizu in front eight minutes after the restart and Leandro’s carelessness in possession allowed Alex Brosque to race in and make the score 3-1.

An altercation on the touchline then reduced the numbers to nine versus ten as both Yutaka Yoshida and Jorge Wagner were dismissed with a quarter of the game remaining. Masato Kudo then pulled one back for Kashiwa to set up a dramatic climax.

With two minutes left on the clock, Nasu’s dangerous cross was palmed onto the crossbar by Akihiro Hayashi, only to drop perfectly for Wataru Hashimoto to head the equaliser into the empty net from point-blank range.

Deep into injury time, Koki Mizuno forced Reysol in front when the home defence failed to properly clear their counter attack, and Kudo rounded off a fine passing move to seal the points at 5-3.

Elsewhere, Gamba Osaka looked to have rescued a point at home to Yokohama F Marinos when Paulinho levelled the scores three minutes from time, but Manabu Saito hit a last-gasp winner following excellent work from the former Gamba striker Masashi Oguro.

The 2005 champions’ best chance of avoiding relegation could well be local rivals Cerezo Osaka, who are now six points ahead of Gamba and just two above Niigata in 15th position after losing 1-0 at home to Kashima Antlers.


TALKING POINTS
- The top six teams in J2 are separated by just two points, with JEF United Chiba leading the way on goal difference after winning 1-0 at Yokohama FC.
- Alessandro del Piero will play in a charity match at the Kashima Stadium next Saturday to support the ongoing recovery efforts from the earthquake and tsunami on 11 March last year. The game pits a Team as One side of players from the Tohoku region affected by the disaster against a fan-chosen selection of J. League stars.


J1 results (matchday 18)
Shimizu S-Pulse 3-5 Kashiwa Reysol
Omiya Ardija 2-2 Vissel Kobe
Albirex Niigata 0-0 Urawa Reds
Jubilo Iwata 4-1 Consadole Sapporo
Nagoya Grampus 0-0 Vegalta Sendai
Gamba Osaka 1-2 Yokohama F Marinos
Cerezo Osaka 0-1 Kashima Antlers
Sanfrecce Hiroshima 3-0 Kawasaki Frontale
Sagan Tosu 1-0 FC Tokyo


J2 results (matchday 24)
Tochigi SC 1-0 Machida Zelvia
Tokyo Verdy 1-0 Gainare Tottori
Yokohama FC 0-1 JEF United Chiba
Ventforet Kofu 2-1 Matsumoto Yamaga
Giravanz Kitakyushu 0-1 Thespa Kusatsu
Oita Trinita 1-4 Shonan Bellmare
Montedio Yamagata 3-1 Avispa Fukuoka
FC Gifu 2-2 Kataller Toyama
Fagiano Okayama 0-0 Tokushima Vortis
Ehime FC 1-1 Mito HollyHock
Roasso Kumamoto 0-1 Kyoto Sanga

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Monday 09 July 2012

Key victory for Sanfrecce but efficient Vegalta hold onto top spot



Sanfrecce Hiroshima established themselves as the closest challengers to J1 leaders Vegalta Sendai at the midway point of the season with a 2-0 victory at home to Jubilo Iwata.

With the two sides respectively in second and third place at the start of play, the match remained a tense, even contest until a sensational passing move finally forced Hiroshima in front with a quarter of an hour left on the clock.

Yojiro Takahagi, Koji Nakajima, and Naoki Ishihara combined with speed and precision to play the ball towards the Iwata penalty area, where Hisato Sato cleverly backheeled into the path of the on-running Nakajima. The substitute midfielder took one touch to free enough space for a quick finish into the far corner.

Koji Morisaki made sure of the points with a fine turn and shot from 25 yards at the end of added time.

The result drops Jubilo all the way down to sixth, while Sanfrecce remain two points off the top after Sendai won 1-0 away to Vissel Kobe.

Makoto Teguramori’s side were made to work hard, retreating into their defensive third under Kobe pressure for sustained periods, but their back four and goalkeeper remained typically resistant and a single Shingo Akamine strike was enough for victory.

Ryang Yong-Gi played a 1-2 with Makoto Kakuda to run in behind the hosts’ defence from the left flank and play the ball across the six-yard line for Akamine to slot home at the far post.

Nagoya Grampus moved up to fourth after beating Kashiwa Reysol in a battle of the last two championship winners at the National Stadium in Tokyo.

Kensuke Nagai lit up the game in only the ninth minute when his burst into the penalty area took four opponents out of the equation as he crossed the ball for Joshua Kennedy to deftly backheel in the opener between two Kashiwa defenders on the line.

Reysol were level when Leandro Domingues arrived at the near post to flick a corner from Jorge Wagner inside the far, but the game was decided when captain Hidekazu Otani performed the same feat from an almost identical position – only after the sides had switched ends for the second half.

The unfortunate own goal puts an end to the champions’ seven-match unbeaten run and sees them fall to seventh.

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Urawa Reds are up to third, five points behind Sendai, but were somewhat relieved to emerge with victory over Sagan Tosu after almost surrendering a four-goal advantage.

Genki Haraguchi had a point to prove after missing the cut for the London Olympics squad, and started emphatically when his seventh-minute shot hit the post only for Tsukasa Umesaki to net the rebound.

A superb through ball from inside Reds territory by Yosuke Kashiwagi sent in Tadaaki Hirakawa to finish in style from a difficult angle, before an emotional Haraguchi added two of his own in the following four minutes to send his side into a 4-0 lead.

But a header from Sagan’s Brazilian forward Tozin midway through the second half triggered another crazy four-minute spell, as Naoyuki Fujita scored twice in quick succession to cut the deficit to just 4-3 before Urawa held on for a nervy last 20 minutes.

Albirex Niigata are back to within three points of safety after a 1-0 win away to hapless Consadole Sapporo, who have now lost eight on the bounce, but Gamba Osaka fall to second from bottom after another dreadful start proved costly in their 3-2 reverse at FC Tokyo.

Shimizu S-Pulse are now without a league win in seven, and will have to wait another week for their 1,000th J. League goal following a scoreless stalemate at home to Kawasaki Frontale.

Elsewhere, Kashima Antlers beat Omiya Ardija 1-0, while Yokohama F Marinos drew 1-1 with Cerezo Osaka.


TALKING POINTS
- The full Japan men’s squad for the Olympic Games is as follows:

Goalkeepers
Shuichi Gonda (FC Tokyo), Shunsuke Ando (Kawasaki Frontale)

Defenders
Yuhei Tokunaga (FC Tokyo), Hiroki Sakai (Hannover 96), Maya Yoshida (VVV Venlo), Kazuya Yamamura (Kashima Antlers), Gotoku Sakai (VfB Stuttgart), Daisuke Suzuki (Albirex Niigata)

Midfielders
Takahiro Ogihara, Hotaru Yamaguchi (both Cerezo Osaka), Taisuke Muramatsu (Shimizu S-Pulse), Keigo Higashi (Omiya Ardija), Takashi Usami (TSG Hoffenheim), Hiroshi Kiyotake (1.FC Nürnberg)

Forwards
Yuki Otsu (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Kenyu Sugimoto (Tokyo Verdy), Kensuke Nagai (Nagoya Grampus), Manabu Saito (Yokohama F Marinos)


J1 results (matchday 17)
Consadole Sapporo 0-1 Albirex Niigata
Urawa Reds 4-3 Sagan Tosu
Shimizu S-Pulse 0-0 Kawasaki Frontale
Kashima Antlers 1-0 Omiya Ardija
FC Tokyo 3-2 Gamba Osaka
Kashiwa Reysol 1-2 Nagoya Grampus
Yokohama F Marinos 1-1 Cerezo Osaka
Vissel Kobe 0-1 Vegalta Sendai
Sanfrecce Hiroshima 2-0 Jubilo Iwata


J2 results (matchday 23)
Mito HollyHock 1-1 Shonan Bellmare
Machida Zelvia 0-1 Ventforet Kofu
Matsumoto Yamaga 3-2 Tokyo Verdy
Gainare Tottori 0-2 Tochigi SC
Fagiano Okayama 0-1 Yokohama FC
Avispa Fukuoka 1-3 Tokushima Vortis
Giravanz Kitakyushu 2-0 Ehime FC
JEF United Chiba 3-2 Kyoto Sanga
FC Gifu 0-2 Roasso Kumamoto
Thespa Kusatsu 0-2 Oita Trinita
Kataller Toyama 1-1 Montedio Yamagata

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Monday 02 July 2012

Sendai and Sanfrecce share spoils in sensational summit contest



Vegalta Sendai and Sanfrecce Hiroshima put on a show worthy of the best two sides in the country, drawing 2-2 in a thrilling top-of-the-table clash at the Yurtec Stadium on Saturday evening.

The home side and current league leaders began the game brightly and opened the scoring after 11 minutes. Collecting a forward pass from Makoto Kakuda, Wilson played a 1-2 with the returning Shingo Akamine to escape a crowd of four Hiroshima defenders and calmly fired the ball past Shusaku Nishikawa.

Sanfrecce were almost level with their first attempt of the game four minutes later, when J1 leading scorer Hisato Sato headed a Ryota Moriwaki cross onto the post with Takuto Hayashi beaten.

But Sato made no mistake in first half injury time when he pounced on another cross from the right flank, this time by Mihael Mikić, to volley home the equaliser with the outside of his left foot.

Hiroshima maintained their rhythm going into the second period, and even a dead leg for Sato became a blessing in disguise when his replacement, Koji Morisaki, immediately put the visitors in front on 65 minutes.

Yojiro Takahagi expertly collected a cross from Takahiro Aoyama on the edge of the penalty area to loft a side-footed volley over the Sendai defensive line, and into the path of the onside Morisaki to slide the ball inside the post.

However, the celebrations in the Morisaki household turned to despair with ten minutes remaining when Koji’s twin brother Kazuyuki slipped as he attempted to play the ball back to his goalkeeper. Wilson stole in to round Nishikawa, roll it into the empty net, and restore parity at 2-2.

A match that ebbed and flowed so nearly had a dramatic winner, when Ryang Yong-Gi’s free kick for Vegalta was cleared and Hwang Seok-Ho swept the ball forwards for an unmarked Hironori Ishikawa to break clear for Sanfrecce.

But the 24-year-old’s shot struck the crossbar, and both teams had to settle for a point that allows some of their rivals to close in.

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One side storming up the table since elimination from the Asian Champions League is defending champions Kashiwa Reysol, who followed up a 1-0 win at FC Tokyo in their game in hand last Wednesday by thrashing Gamba Osaka 6-2 at a rainy Banpaku.

Masakatsu Sawa was the hero with a well-taken hat-trick, stunning the beleaguered hosts by slotting the ball through Yosuke Fujigaya’s legs then taking advantage of the goalkeeper’s hopelessly weak parry to put Reysol two up within seven minutes.

Masato Kudo made it three from a tight angle on 20 minutes, but after coming back triumphantly from two down to draw with Nagoya Grampus in midweek, Gamba set off on another recovery charge as goals from Yasuhito Endo and Akihiro Sato reduced the deficit to 2-3 at half-time.

However, the Osakans’ momentum was halted when Leandro Domingues languidly fired home a perfect spinning volley ten minutes after the restart. Further goals by Sawa and Junya Tanaka, both from Koki Mizuno crosses on the counter attack, completed Gamba’s worst home defeat since losing 7-1 to the same opposition back in May 1996.

The result, which sees Kashiwa move to within five points of the leaders in fourth, was a perfect send-off for right-back Hiroki Sakai, who made his final appearance for the club before flying out to join German side Hannover 96 on Sunday.

Joining Sakai on the same flight was Nuremburg-bound Hiroshi Kiyotake, who made his farewell appearance for Cerezo Osaka in a 1-1 home draw with Urawa Reds.

Jubilo Iwata moved up to third, ahead of both Kashiwa and Urawa on goal difference, with a convincing 3-1 victory over FC Tokyo, but Kawasaki Frontale missed a great opportunity to close on the top two as they fell down to sixth after a 1-0 home loss to Vissel Kobe.

Ken Tokura fired home a spectacular late winner from 30 yards and celebrated by mimicking the muscle-flexing of Mario Balotelli during Italy’s Euro 2012 semi-final win over Germany.

Elsewhere, Nagoya could only draw 1-1 at Yokohama F Marinos to stay seven points off the summit in seventh position, but Sagan Tosu are back in the top half after Kota Mizunuma’s 95th-minute winner against the unfortunate Consadole Sapporo.

Omiya Ardija moved six points clear of danger with a similarly late 1-0 win over Shimizu S-Pulse – Daigo Watanabe their hero – while Albirex Niigata picked up a creditable point at home to Kashima Antlers.

TALKING POINTS
- Takashi Sekizuka will name his Japan squad of 18 to take to the Olympic Games in London later on Monday.
- Cerezo Osaka and Vegalta Sendai each enjoyed big wins on Wednesday to seal their places in the quarter-finals of the Yamazaki Nabisco Cup alongside Shimizu S-Pulse, Kashima Antlers, and the four Champions League representatives.
- Tokyo Verdy moved two points clear at the head of J2 after a 2-0 win over Mito HollyHock, with Shonan Bellmare only able to draw 1-1 with Matsumoto Yamaga.


J1 results (matchday 16)
Yokohama F Marinos 1-1 Nagoya Grampus
Vegalta Sendai 2-2 Sanfrecce Hiroshima
Omiya Ardija 1-0 Shimizu S-Pulse
Kawasaki Frontale 0-1 Vissel Kobe
Albirex Niigata 1-1 Kashima Antlers
Jubilo Iwata 3-1 FC Tokyo
Gamba Osaka 2-6 Kashiwa Reysol
Cerezo Osaka 1-1 Urawa Reds
Sagan Tosu 1-0 Consadole Sapporo


J1 results (matchday 9 – Wednesday 27 June)
FC Tokyo 0-1 Kashiwa Reysol
Gamba Osaka 2-2 Nagoya Grampus


J2 results (matchday 22)
Tochigi SC 1-0 Montedio Yamagata
Tokyo Verdy 2-0 Mito HollyHock
Machida Zelvia 0-4 Yokohama FC
Ventforet Kofu 0-0 FC Gifu
Gainare Tottori 1-2 Giravanz Kitakyushu
Avispa Fukuoka 1-0 Ehime FC
Oita Trinita 1-1 Kataller Toyama
Shonan Bellmare 1-1 Matsumoto Yamaga
Tokushima Vortis 0-0 Thespa Kusatsu
Kyoto Sanga 1-1 Fagiano Okayama
Roasso Kumamoto 1-0 JEF United Chiba


Yamazaki Nabisco Cup results
Group A

Vegalta Sendai 4-0 Jubilo Iwata
Urawa Reds 3-0 Sanfrecce Hiroshima
Cerezo Osaka 5-0 Sagan Tosu
Final standings: CEREZO OSAKA 12, VEGALTA SENDAI 12, Jubilo Iwata 12, Urawa Reds 9, Sagan Tosu 9, Sanfrecce Hiroshima 4, Kawasaki Frontale 4

Group B
Kashima Antlers 2-1 Shimizu S-Pulse
Albirex Niigata 4-3 Omiya Ardija
Vissel Kobe 3-2 Yokohama F Marinos
Final standings: SHIMIZU S-PULSE 15, KASHIMA ANTLERS 15, Albirex Niigata 10, Yokohama F Marinos 5, Omiya Ardija 5, Consadole Sapporo 5, Vissel Kobe 4

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