Hiroshima stretches lead atop J-League with win over Kashima
Sep. 02, 2018
TOKYO (AP) — Relegation-threatened Sagan Tosu, featuring former Atletico Madrid striker Fernando Torres, earned a point at third-placed FC Tokyo in an uninspiring 0-0 draw in the J-League on Sunday.
The weekend's fixtures kicked off Friday with bottom club V-Varen Nagasaki going down to a home defeat to midtable Shonan Bellmare, 3-1. On Saturday, Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo made light work of Vissel Kobe in a 3-1 home victory that saw German star Lukas Podolski shown a harsh straight red card for a late tackle in first-half added time. Former Barcelona and Spain midfielder Andres Iniesta struggled to make an impact and was substituted in the 55th minute.
Consadole remain in fourth place while Vissel dropped to seventh, with its hopes of qualifying for the 2019 Asian Champions League dealt a blow.
At the top of the table, Sanfrecce Hiroshima triumphed 3-1 at home against a Kashima Antlers team that had impressed in their own ACL match in midweek but had no answer to a potent Sanfrecce attack. With second-placed Kawasaki Frontale's 2-0 defeat at the hands of second-from-bottom Gamba Osaka, the Hiroshima club stretched its lead to nine points.
Osaka's other team, Cerezo, rose to fifth spot after coming from behind against Urawa Reds to record a 2-1 win, while Vegalta Sendai followed them up the table to sixth after a home victory over Shimizu S-Pulse.
The remaining match in Japan's top division saw Nagoya Grampus smash six goals at Jubilo Iwata to make it seven wins in a row. The Nagoya team has risen from rock bottom to 11th spot in the 18-team division. Former Manchester City and Everton marksman, Jo, notched a brace in the match and has now taken his total to 19 goals in 26 League and Cup appearances.