Australia striker Josh Kennedy grabbed his second goal of the season Sunday as Nagoya Grampus beat Albirex Niigata 2-1 to condemn the visitors to their third consecutive defeat of the new J. League season.
Mu Kanazaki opened the scoring early in the second half with a well-taken strike and Kennedy netted a trademark header on 67 minutes, before Niigata replied with a late consolation from Bruno Lopes.
Grampus have six points from three games, three behind Vegalta Sendai and FC Tokyo, who both won on Saturday. Sendai hammered Omiya Ardija 4-1 and Tokyo maintained its perfect start thanks to a 2-0 win at Vissel Kobe.
With Nagoya looking slightly jaded from its midweek exertions in the Asian Champions League, Niigata made the most of the early running on a chilly afternoon at Mizuho Stadium and Yusuke Murakami tested Seigo Narazaki with a stinging shot on five minutes.
Held 1-1 at Australia’s Central Coast Mariners in the ACL on Wednesday, Grampus survived another scare five minutes later when Shoki Hirai’s 20-meter drive came back off the underside of the crossbar, and Narazaki was again on hand with a superb stop to deny Kenji Koyano.