Sanfrecce Hiroshima continue setting a breakneck pace at the top of the MEIJI YASUDA J1 League, beating Vegalta Sendai 3-1 on Saturday to go 10 points clear at the top of the table.
Despite being surprised by Hiroaki Okuno’s opener, Hiroshi Jofuku’s men soon took charge following Patric’s brace – the second with which he powered home – either side of Yoshifumi Kashiwa’s wonderful solo effort.
Second-placed FC Tokyo, who bowed out of the YBC Levain Cup in midweek, were unable to produce a response on Sunday as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Consadole Sapporo – a result shared by Urawa Reds against Sagan Tosu.
Shimizu S-Pulse ended a run of three defeats in all competitions when they beat Shonan Bellmare 4-2 following Crislan’s star showing and Koya Kitagawa’s brace.
Meanwhile, Vissel Kobe picked up their first win in nearly a month with a 2-0 result at Jubilo Iwata despite being without Lukas Podolski, but bottom side Nagoya Grampus were humbled 3-0 by fellow promoted team V-Varen Nagasaki.
Kawasaki Frontale came back from a goal down to beat Kashiwa Reysol 2-1 thanks to Yuma Suzuki’s 92nd-minute effort to stay fourth.
However, Yokohama F. Marinos and Gamba Osaka remained firmly in the relegation race after Jun Amano cancelled out Jungo Fujimoto’s opener for a 0-0 scoreline.