Yokohama F. Marinos moved to the top of the J.League with a crucial 1-0 win over title rivals Sanfreece Hiroshima on Saturday.
Sanfreece led the division heading into the encounter at the Nissan Stadium but surrendered their advantage after Manabu Saito scored the only goal of the match in the second half.
Saito's 55th-minute strike – his first for the club in over three months – has now given table-toppers Yokohama a two-point lead ahead of the Urawa Reds with five matches to play.
Urawa also moved ahead of Hiroshima as a result of their 2-1 win at Kashima Antlers.
Daisuke Nasu's early goal fired Urawa ahead after 20 minutes and they looked to have sealed the result with 19 minutes to play thanks to Genki Haraguchi's 10th league goal of the season.
Yuya Osako caused some nervy moments for the winners with his 87th-minute effort but Urawa held on for an important victory.
They now have 54 points, two less than Yokohama and one more than Sanfreece.
Kashima Antlers – who have 50 points – dropped to fifth, with Cerezo Ozaka moving ahead of them on goal difference.
Cerezo had to come from behind to defeat Shonan Bellmare 2-1, with goals from Daisuke Takahashi and Yoichirio Kakitani giving them all three points.
At the other end of the table, Jubilo Iwata's hopes of survival suffered a blow as they threw away a lead to lose 2-1 at Kawasaki Frontale.
Yoshiro Abe had put Jubilo – who are now 10 points adrift of safety – in front with 17 minutes remaining.
But Jeci scored twice in the final 10 minutes to give Kawasaki Frontale victory.
There were no shortage of goals in Shizuoka as Shimizu S-Pulse claimed a stunning 6-4 home win over Sagan Tosu.
Sho Ito's hat-trick would prove decisive for the winners, who conceded a 4-2 lead when Ryota Hayasaka and Min-Woo Kim netted.
Yasuhiro Hiraoka restored Shimizu's lead with their fifth goal 11 minutes from time before Ito sealed his treble in the 88th minute.
Other results saw Vegalta Sendai defeat Nagoya Grampus 2-1, while Kashiwa Reysol toppled Ventforet Kofu 2-0.
Tokyo also won 2-0, against Albirex Niigata, while already-relegated Oita Trinita won 1-0 at Omiya Ardija.
|11||M. Saito||38' 55'|
|Coach: Y. Higuchi|
for Y. Sato 82'
for Marquinhos 90+3'
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