YOKOHAMA – Marquinhos stole the show as Kashima Antlers downed troubled Yokohama F. Marinos 2-0 to reclaim pole position in the J. League on Sunday.
The Brazilian hitman bagged his 12th goal of the season with a first-half wonder strike and provided the ammunition for an equally lethal finish by Shinzo Koroki as the league champions warmed up nicely for next weekend’s showdown with Urawa Reds.
“We lost a game we could have won against Kyoto (on Wednesday) and we were all really disappointed about that and eager to put it right against Yokohama,” said Koroki. “It was a good win today.”
“It was a great pass from Marquinhos for my goal and it was just a case of me controlling the ball and finishing it off. I am not sure if I will start or come off the bench (against Urawa) but either way I will be giving 100 percent,” he said.
Kashima temporarily moved two points clear of Urawa, which entertains Kawasaki Frontale on Monday, while Gamba Osaka went third after Masato Yamazaki struck in the dying seconds of a 1-0 win at bottom club JEF United Chiba.
Kashima has 34 points, and Gamba (32) moved level on points with Urawa, but Kashiwa Reysol (29) dropped into fourth after losing 2-1 away to Tokyo Verdy, Diego providing Verdy with the decider from the penalty spot 12 minutes from time at Ajinomoto Stadium.
At Nissan Stadium, Hayuma Tanaka tested Hitoshi Sogahata with an early effort but Yokohama paid the price for giving Marquinhos space to beat Yota Akimoto from fully 35 meters after 12 minutes.
League-leading scorer Marquinhos then turned provider when his pass picked out Koroki, who swiveled to shrug off marker Ryuji Kawai and bury the second on the half-hour mark.
Once-mighty Yokohama should have reduced the arrears six minutes before halftime but Shingo Hyodo blazed its best chance of the game over the bar from close range.
Koji Yamase also went close when he saw a shot blocked by Sogahata nine minutes from time but Kokichi Kimura’s men were unable to find a way back and their sixth consecutive defeat leaves them firmly entrenched in the relegation mire.
Davi converted from the penalty spot on the stroke of halftime to earn second-from-bottom Consadole Sapporo a 1-1 draw at home to Vissel Kobe while a double from former Japan striker Akinori Nishizawa helped Shimizu S-Pulse pull four points clear of the drop zone after a 3-0 win at home to Albirex Niigata.
Elsewhere, Oita Trinita extended its unbeaten run to five matches and climbed into sixth spot after Ueslei’s double gave the Kyushu club a 2-1 win at home to Jubilo Iwata.
Nagoya Grampus faces Omiya Ardija while Kyoto Sanga takes on FC Tokyo in Monday’s other games.