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Football Japan Minutecast No. 6 – Niigata and Kashima leave it late on day of drama


Monday 6 April 2009


Late drama was the order of the day in an exciting weekend of action in J1, as Albirex Niigata moved clear at the top with a 2-1 victory at home to Yokohama F Marinos. The visitors, who are yet to win a single game this season, had looked set to come away with a well-deserved point after Yuzo Kurihara had cancelled out Marcio Richardes’ opener, but their hopes were destroyed when Kisho Yano finished off a 93rd minute breakaway to take Albirex up to ten points from four games.


Hot on their heels are the reigning champions, Kashima Antlers, who were given a real scare on Saturday at home to Kyoto Sanga. Despite remaining under the cosh for most of the match, Diego’s well-taken opener had put the away side on course for an unlikely victory, until the game turned with ten minutes to play following a second yellow card for Yuto Sato. Seizing the momentum, Kashima first equalised through Ryuta Sasaki, before Shinzo Koroki completed the recovery with a scrambled winner in the final minute.


Omiya Ardija thought they had stolen the points away to 10-man Kashiwa Reysol with a Tomoya Uchida strike on 89 minutes, before an even later reply from Masahiro Koga ensured that both teams would retain their unbeaten records. FC Tokyo added to the misery of bottom club Jubilo Iwata with a Shingo Akamine winner eight minutes from time, while Masaru Akiba netted with just four minutes left against JEF United Chiba to continue Montedio Yamagata’s excellent start to the campaign.


Kawasaki Frontale picked up three points for the first time this season in Saturday’s highest profile encounter, as they quickly recovered from Magnum’s opener to record a convincing 3-1 win over fellow ACL contenders Nagoya Grampus. Gamba Osaka were held 2-2 at home by Sanfrecce Hiroshima despite a stunning opener from Cho Jae-Jin, Urawa Reds ended a week of boardroom unrest with a 1-0 victory over Oita Trinita, while Shimizu S-Pulse won by the same score away to Vissel Kobe.



J1 results (matchday 4)

Gamba Osaka 2-2 Sanfrecce Hiroshima

Kashima Antlers 2-1 Kyoto Sanga

Kawasaki Frontale 3-1 Nagoya Grampus

Urawa Reds 1-0 Oita Trinita

Albirex Niigata 2-1 Yokohama F Marinos

Kashiwa Reysol 2-2 Omiya Ardija

Jubilo Iwata 0-1 FC Tokyo

Montedio Yamagata 1-0 JEF United Chiba

Vissel Kobe 0-1 Shimizu S-Pulse


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