TOKYO (AFP) - Defending champions Kashima Antlers suffered their first defeat of the season when they crashed 2-1 loss to Vegalta Sendai, losing the lead in the J-League standings on Sunday.
Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho collected a clearance off Kashima defender Lee Jung-Soo to open the scoring less than a minute into the game and the Brazilian added another in the 61st minute.
Kashima managed to pull one back in the 77th minute through Japan international striker Shinzo Koroki.
Kashima have kept winning in the AFC Champions League and also won the season-opening Super Cup last month.
"We are playing not only in the J-League but also in the Champions League. My players have been tired and they have some ups and downs," said Kashima's Brazilian coach Oswaldo Oliveira.
"Furthermore, (Atsuto) Uchida has to play for the national team. As a coach, it is one of my jobs to think about their physical and mental conditions."
Kashima have three wins, one draw and one defeat for 10 points, a point behind Shimizu S-Pulse, who beat Yokohama Marinos 2-1 on Saturday.
Kashima were tied with Sendai, Urawa Red Diamonds and Kawasaki Frontale.
North Korean international forward Chong Tese scored twice to give Kawasaki a 2-1 win over FC Tokyo, while Gamba Osaka, who remain winless in the league and are in the Champions League, lost 4-3 to Jubilo Iwata.
|Coach: M. Teguramori|
for T. Nakahara 69'
for Fernandinho 89'
for Yong-Gi Ryang 90'
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