Japan's Reds see daylight at top after Yokohama win
Urawa Reds preserved their unbeaten record with a 2-1 home win over Yokohama F-Marinos to go a point clear at the top of the J-League on Saturday.
Tsukasa Umesaki's header in first-half stoppage time proved decisive as Japan's best-supported club improved to 14 points from six matches, with last season's treble winners Gamba Osaka in hot pursuit.
Gamba eased past promoted Shonan Bellmare 2-0 away from home, with sharp-shooter Takashi Usami continuing his purple patch after his recent Japan call-up by scoring once again. The Osaka side now have 13 points.
The Reds remain the only team yet to lose this season after FC Tokyo, who recently received an offer from English side Chelsea for Japan striker Yoshinori Muto, slipped to a 2-1 home defeat by Sanfrecce Hiroshima despite an early Muto goal.
Yokohama stunned the Reds when Sho Ito fired the visitors in front after 34 minutes but Yuki Muto equalised before Umesaki found the net on the stroke of halftime.
Elsewhere, former Japan striker Yoshito Okubo scored a late winner as Kawasaki Frontale won 3-2 at Vegalta Sendai, while promoted pair Montedio Yamagata and Matsumoto Yamaga finished scoreless in a drab encounter at the aptly named Soft Stadium.
Kyushu-based Sagan Tosu won 3-0 at Ventforet Kofu, meanwhile, but Vissel Kobe's hopes of advancing from mid-table were dented by a 2-2 draw away to northern club Albirex Niigata.
Nagoya Grampus beat Shimizu S-Pulse 3-1 at home in the late kickoff. Once-mighty Kashima Antlers won by the same score at Kashiwa Reysol on Thursday.