Kawasaki Frontale battled back from two goals down in five mad minutes to beat Vegalta Sendai 3-2 in the MEIJI YASUDA J1 League on Saturday, thanks to Yu Kobayashi’s brace.
Vegalta - who had matched Frontale over their last two encounters in the YBC Levain Cup semi-finals - roared into a 2-0 lead by the hour mark to stun the Todoroki Stadium crowd.
However, Elsinho’s late goal and Kobayashi’s double after the 80th minute ensured a thrilling finish to the game, ensuring they remain only five points behind leaders Kashima Antlers.
Urawa Reds’ struggles continued as they were unable to capitalise on their dominance against Vissel Kobe, grinding out a 1-1 MEIJI YASUDA J1 League draw on Saturday.
The hosts fell behind when Keijiro Ogawa opened the scoring in the fourth minute, though Shinya Yajima equalised later.
However, despite having the majority of chances, the Reds’ finishing touch let them down as they now head into their AFC Champions League semi-final second-leg against Shanghai SIPG languishing seventh in the table.
Results have likewise not been forthcoming for Gamba Osaka, who slipped into the bottom half of the standings with a 1-0 home defeat to bottom dwellers Albirex Niigata.
The latter are still far from safety, however, despite Sanfrecce Hiroshima’s 2-0 loss at Antlers - Yusuke Chajima offering the most resistance when his 30-yard piledriver came off the bar - Jan Jonsson’s side remaining entrenched in the relegation zone.
Jay Bothroyd ensured Consadole Sapporo pulled further away from the bottom with his brace in a 3-0 win over Kashiwa Reysol - Consadole overtaking Shimizu S-Pulse who themselves succumbed to a 3-0 home loss to Jubilo Iwata.
Omiya Ardija managed to hold Yokohama F. Marinos to a 1-1 draw, as Ventforet Kofu host FC Tokyo and Cerezo Osaka travel to take on Sagan Tosu on Sunday.