Urawa Reds win J-League’s first-stage title after 1-1 draw
KOBE, Japan (AP) — Urawa Reds won the J-League’s first-stage title on Saturday after drawing 1-1 at Vissel Kobe.
Tsukasa Umesaki scored in the 28th minute for Urawa before substitute Kazuma Watanabe equalized with six minutes remaining.
Urawa, which won the first-stage title with a game to spare, booked a spot in the championship playoffs starting late November. The second stage starts July 11.
This is the first time since 2004 that the J-League has used the two-stage system. The winners of each stage and top three clubs of the aggregate table will qualify for the championship.
Also, Gamba drew 1-1 with Vegalta Sendai. Hisato Sato got a hat trick as Sanfrecce Hiroshima thrashed Montedio Yamagata 5-1.
Kawasaki Frontale beat Matsumoto Yamaga 2-0 and Kashima Antlers defeated Yokohama F Marinos 3-1. Milivoje Novakovic scored the only goal as Nagoya Grampus beat Kashiwa Reysol 1-0.
FC Tokyo beat Sagan Tosu 2-1 and Albirex Niigata defeated Shonan Bellmare 3-2.
Ventforet Kofu beat Shimizu S-Pulse 2-0.