SHIMIZU, Shizuoka Pref. – Shunsuke Nakamura showed he’s still got game as the two-time World Cup midfielder single-handedly displaced Shimizu S-Pulse from the top of the J. League first division in Yokohama F. Marinos’ 2-1 win Saturday evening.
With the game level 1-1 at Outsourcing Stadium, Nakamura buried a 53rd-minute free kick from close to 30 meters out — his second goal of the season — to give Marinos their second straight victory, ending Shimizu’s three-game win streak.
It was Shimizu’s first home defeat in the league against Marinos in five years. S-Pulse stayed on 36 points from 18 games, dropping to second place.
Nagoya Grampus took over the top spot after beating Urawa Reds 3-1 at Toyota Stadium behind a second-half brace by Keiji Tamada for their fourth consecutive win.
Former Reds linchpin Marcus Tulio Tanaka chipped in with a goal in the 54th minute, scoring his first goal against his old team as Grampus improved to 38 points.
Marinos won back-to-back games for the first time since March. Nakamura, who announced his international retirement following the World Cup this summer, netted for the first time since March 20.
Nakamura also set up the first for Kazushi Kimura’s side, flinging in a cross from the right for Shingo Hyodo, who headed home just two minutes after kickoff.
Japan forward Shinji Okazaki restored parity on the half-hour with a header of his own.
In other J1 games, Kashima Antlers were held to a painful 1-1 home draw by FC Tokyo as the three-time defending champions allowed Yasuyuki Konno to equalize four minutes to time.
Gamba Osaka defeated Vegalta 3-1 at Sendai for their fourth straight victory.
Vissel and Shonan Bellmare shared the points in a 0-0 draw.