Sanfrecce Hiroshima snatches J-League title
KASHIMA, Japan (AP) — Sanfrecce Hiroshima snatched their second-straight J-League title with a 2-0 win at Kashima Antlers on Saturday as Yokohama F Marinos — which led by two points at the start of the final day — lost 1-0 at Kawasaki Frontale.
Naoki Ishihara scored both goals for Sanfrecce, finding the net in the 34th and 79th minutes to take his season tally to 10.
Kawasaki’s goal came from Brazilian Renato in the 54th minute.
Yokohama’s Shunsuke Nakamura came close to equalizing deep in stoppage time but Kawasaki goalkeeper Yohei Nishibe made a spectacular diving save to preserve the lead.
The Marinos lost their final two games, blowing a comfortable lead that had them poised for a fourth title.
Hiroshima finished the 34-game campaign with 63 points, one clear of Yokohama. Kawasaki (60) clinched third place. The top three teams qualify for next season’s Asian Champions League.
Hiroshima got a break when Kawasaki striker Yuya Osako was booked for the second time and sent off after a foul on Tsukasa Shiotani late in the first half.
In other matches, Yoichiro Kakitani scored twice as Cerezo Osaka trounced Urawa Reds 5-2 to secure fourth place. Kashima placed fifth and Reds sixth.
Nagoya Grampus lost 2-0 to Albirex Niigata in manager Dragan Stojkovic’s last game in charge while FC Tokyo won 2-0 over Vegalta Sendai and Omiya Ardija edged relegated Shonan Bellmare 1-0 away.
Kashiwa Reysol beat Shimizu S-Pulse 2-1 and Jubilo Iwata downed Oita Trinita 3-1 in a showdown between the bottom two teams. Ventforet Kofu against Sagan Tosu finished in a goalless draw.