SAITAMA – Former Asian champions Urawa Reds saw their five-game unbeaten run come to an end in the most unwanted of destinations, losing 2-0 away to Omiya Ardija in the Saitama derby on Saturday.
With goals in the opening half, Cho Young Cheol and Rafael sent Omiya to its first-ever derby win at home against a resurgent Reds side which appears to be thriving under manager Mihailo Petrovic this season.
Urawa went into the weekend in second place behind red-hot Vegalta Sendai, but fell six points off the pace after the defeat. Unbeaten Sendai continued its early tear, thrashing FC Tokyo 4-0 to move five points clear.
“This defeat hurts,” said Petrovic. “It hurts a lot because we lost in the derby.
“We were on the backfoot in the first half. We conceded early, and the match became difficult for us. The goal gave them the confidence they needed.”
Earlier Saturday, J. League champions Kashiwa Reysol lost for the third time in a week as Nelsinho’s side went down 3-1 away to Vissel Kobe.
Kashima Antlers came back from two goals down to snatch a 3-2 home victory over Cerezo Osaka. Nagoya Grampus let another one get away as Dragan Stojkovic’s side drew 1-1 with Sanfrecce in Hiroshima, who equalized in the 94th minute.
Jubilo Iwata won 1-0 at home to keep Yokohama F. Marinos as one of two winless teams in the J. League. The other team without a win, Consadole Sapporo, squandered a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 to Kawasaki Frontale.