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Shonan, Kyoto dropped to J-League’s second division

Kyodo News

Shonan Bellmare and Kyoto Sanga were both put out of their misery by FC Tokyo and relegated to the J. league second division on Sunday.

Last-place Shonan were hammered 5-0 at Shimizu S-Pulse, slipping through the trapdoor just a season after coming up to the top flight, while Kyoto, next to bottom only on goal difference, lost to Urawa Reds 2-0 away and will join Bellmare in J2 wilderness in 2011.

Even victory would not have been enough to save the two teams from the drop as 15th-placed FC Tokyo won 2-1 away to Yokohama F Marinos, moving onto 32 points.

Kyoto, who went down for a league record fourth time, and Shonan have just 16 points from 30 games this season.

“We struggled to score, and we didn’t have anyone who could step up and become a leader,” said Kyoto manager Yutaka Akita, who replaced Hisashi Kato in late July.

Shonan were back in J1 for the first time in 11 years. But they were operating on a shoestring budget, and 13 of their players underwent surgery.

“This result says everything about where our club stand,” coach Yasuharu Sorimachi said after Bellmare were slaughtered by S-Pulse. “In my two years in charge, I went from heaven to hell.”

Vissel Kobe stayed in 16th on 30 points after a 1-1 draw with Albirex at Niigata.

Just seven points separate five teams — from Vissel to 12th-place Vegalta Sendai, who defeated Nabisco Cup champions Jubilo Iwata 3-0 earlier.

Montedio Yamagata, in 13th on 36 points, drew 3-3 with Cerezo Osaka, two points ahead of 14th-place Omiya Ardija.