10.11.2013 13:47 h

Football: Nagoya shave Yokohama's lead in J-League

Duell in Tokyo
Duell in Tokyo

Yokohama Marinos saw their lead at the top of the J-League shaved to one point with three games remaining after a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Nagoya Grampus Sunday.

Australian international Josh Kennedy gave Nagoya an 8th-minute lead from the penalty spot before Shingo Hyodo equalised for Marinos early in the second half, only for Jungo Fujimoto to hit the winner two minutes later and leave the door open for Yokohama's rivals.

Second-place Urawa Red Diamonds looked set to take full advantage but conceded an equaliser two minutes into injury time in a 3-3 draw with Vegalta Sendai.

Third-place Sanfrecce Hiroshima were held 1-1 by Kashiwa Reysol.

The results leave Marinos, who were missing star player Shunsuke Nakamura with a gall bladder inflammation, top on 59 points.

Urawa have 58, Sanfrecce have 57 and Kashima Antlers -- 2-1 winners over Shonan Bellmare -- are on 56.

"At the start of the season, I thought if we could win two-thirds of our games we would get 68 points and the reward would follow," said Marinos manager Yasuhiro Higuchi.

"If we win our last three games we'll have exactly 68 points, so that's what we're aiming for."

Wataru Endo thought he had claimed a precious point in struggling Bellmare's fight against relegation when he cancelled out Mitsuo Ogasawara's opener in the 91st minute against Antlers.

But Yuya Osako hit the winner a minute later.

Meanwhile, three-time former champions Jubilo Iwata were demoted for the first time in their history after a 1-0 defeat by Sagan Tosu.

Jubilo would have needed to win their final four games and hope that Ventforet Kofu lost all four of theirs to escape the drop, but Sagan defender Ryuhei Niwa's 24th-minute goal sealed their fate.

Ventforet ran out 2-1 winners over Omiya Ardija later in the evening.

In the day's other games, league-leading scorer Yoshito Okubo took his tally to 24 with a brace in Kawasaki Frontale's 2-0 win over Shimizu S-Pulse, Japan striker Yoichiro Kakitani struck in the 87th minute to give fifth-place Cerezo Osaka a 2-1 win over FC Tokyo, and Albirex Niigata beat Oita Trinita 3-1.