J. League leaders Kashima Antlers fought back from two goals down to strengthen their hold at the top of the table with a 3-2 win at Jubilo Iwata on Saturday, as their two closest rivals Nagoya Grampus and Shimizu S-Pulse shared the points in a sizzling 3-3 draw.
The Antlers were rocked on their heels when Daisuke Nasu put Jubilo ahead in the third minute, and Sho Naruoka rubbed salt in the wound with a strike in the 42nd to give the hosts a 2-0 halftime lead. But Kashima turned the screws after the break, with Gilton pulling one back in the 52nd minute, Koji Nakata equalizing in the 68th, and Marquinhos snatching the winner four minutes from time to extend their lead at the top to three points.
Cerezo Osaka moved into fourth place with a comfortable 3-0 win over Montedio Yamagata. Adriano was hero and villain, scoring the opener in the 50th minute and then getting sent off in the 75th. But by then it hardly mattered, Takashi Inui having the hosts further ahead in the 58th and Hiroshi Kiyotake wrapping things up with a third in the 66th.
Sanfrecce Hiroshima took the points on their visit to Urawa with the only goal of the game, a 72nd minute strike by defender Tomoaki Makino.
At Yokohama, the mid-table clash between the Marinos and Gamba Osaka was settled in dramatic fashion when Takashi Amano broke the goalless deadlock in the fourth minute of time added on, while Albirex Niigata took the points at Velgata Sendai in similar fashion with a late 3-2 win.