Modest Oita Trinita remained firmly in contention for an unlikely league and cup double after sweeping aside 10-man Tokyo Verdy 2-0 away in the J. League on Saturday.
Goals from veteran Brazilian striker Ueslei and Taikai Uemoto did the damage at Ajinomoto Stadium and kept the pressure on Nagoya Grampus, who preserved their lead at the top of the table with a 2-0 win at home to Albirex Niigata.
Yoshizumi Ogawa and Keita Sugimoto were on target as Grampus improved to 48 points, three clear of Oita and five ahead of third-placed Kashima Antlers, who were held 1-1 away to Kashiwa Reysol.
Kawasaki Frontale missed the chance to go third after Shingo Akamine’s 10th goal of the season gave 10-man FC Tokyo a 1-0 win at Todoroki Stadium.
At Ajinomoto Stadium, Ueslei fired Oita in front on the stroke of halftime with a 25-meter free kick and there was more joy for the visitors five minutes into the second half when Verdy midfielder Daisuke Nasu was sent off after collecting his second yellow card.
Oita made its numerical advantage pay just before the hour mark, a long-range effort from Uemoto sealing the points and extending the Nabisco Cup finalists’ remarkable unbeaten run to 16 league and cup games.
In Chiba Prefecture, a last-gasp penalty from Kashima’s league-leading scorer Marquinhos rescued a point in a match marred by unruly crowd behavior and a serious injury to Antlers midfielder Mitsuo Ogasawara.
Fans from both teams were involved in minor scuffles while Kashiwa’s Brazilian striker Alex was hit on the head with a Kashima supporter’s flag pole as he was preparing to take a corner. He was not injured in the incident.
Ogasawara was taken off after 19 minutes with a knee injury and is expected to be out for six months.
JEF United Chiba collected another priceless three points in their bid to beat the drop with a 3-2 win at bottom club Consadole Sapporo, who had two players sent off.
Australian defender Eddy Bosnar converted from the penalty spot after Yoshinobu Minowa had been sent off after just 15 minutes but Sapporo twice hit back and looked to have done enough to earn a draw when Anderson made it 2-2 with a quarter of an hour left.
But Davi was the second Sapporo player to be given his marching orders in the waning moments and Tatsuya Yazawa snatched victory for Chiba deep into time added on.