J1 Recap: Top five remain unchanged as F. Marinos, Gamba find rare wins

The MEIJI YASUDA J1 League’s marathon spring continued over the weekend of April 28 and 29 as clubs took on a second round of matches on short rest, with little changing at the top of the table.

At Transcosmos Stadium, V-Varen Nagasaki welcomed Sanfrecce Hiroshima in the first-ever ‘Peace Match’ between the two cities which were struck by atomic bombs in 1945. After a scoreless first half, Sanfrecce striker Teerasil Dangda made an immediate impact off the bench when he scored the go-ahead goal in the 52nd minute. Sho Sasaki added to the scoreline just seven minutes later giving the leaders a comfortable 2-0 win.

On the other side of the country, Ajinomoto Stadium was for a second match in a row the scene of a Diego Oliveira brace and a Kensuke Nagai goal as FC Tokyo defeated Nagoya Grampus 3-2. The two strikers repeated the heroics they displayed in Wednesday’s 3-1 win against Sanfrecce, and Oliveira successfully repeated his elaborate stutter-step penalty kick in the 20th minute. Grampus, whose 11 goals this season have all been scored by Brazilian imports, saw their losing streak stretch to eight matches.

Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo were forced to settle for a 2-2 draw at Vegalta Sendai when Kazuki Oiwa equalised deep in stoppage time. The visitors had taken the lead through Chanathip Songkrasin’s left-footed rocket in the 78th minute, but ended the match with 10 men after Kim Min-te was sent off with a second yellow card just minutes later.

Vissel Kobe also ended their match shorthanded when Jung Woo-young earned his own second yellow, but the hosts dropped a point against defending champions Kawasaki Frontale after last year’s MVP and Golden Boot winner Yu Kobayashi displayed a tremendous turn in the penalty area topped with a low shot inside the near post.

Saturday night’s ‘Original 10’ showdown at Nissan Stadium ended in the long-awaited first home win for Ange Postecoglou’s Yokohama F. Marinos, who dismantled troubled Kashima Antlers in a 3-0 win featuring goals from Keita Endo, Jun Amano, and Kosuke Nakamachi. 2016 champions Antlers ended the weekend in 15th place with a -5 goal difference, while Gamba Osaka rose to 16th place after scoring three second half goals against struggling Sagan Tosu to notch their third win of the campaign.

J1 clubs will again face short rest as the ‘Golden Week Sprint’ kicks into high gear, with Round 12 set for Wednesday, May 2.

Full Results for J1 League Round 11

V-Varen Nagasaki 0-2 Sanfrecce Hiroshima

Vegalta Sendai 2-2 Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo

Shimizu S-Pulse 2-1 Kashiwa Reysol

FC Tokyo 3-2 Nagoya Grampus

Jubilo Iwata 1-1 Cerezo Osaka

Urawa Reds 0-1 Shonan Bellmare

Vissel Kobe 1-2 Kawasaki Frontale

Yokohama F. Marinos 3-0 Kashima Antlers

Gamba Osaka 3-0 Sagan Tosu