FC Tokyo returned to the top of the J. League on Sunday after a late strike from midfielder Ryoichi Kurisawa secured a 1-0 win over visiting Jubilo Iwata.
Victory moved Tokyo above Kashima Antlers on goal difference with 10 points from four games while defending champions Yokohama F. Marinos dropped three points behind after being held 1-1 at home to 10-man Vissel Kobe in the day’s other game.
Iwata came into the match looking to rebound from its disappointing 1-0 defeat at home to South Korean club Suwon Bluewings in the Asian Champions League in midweek and looked to have done enough to earn a point at Ajinomoto Stadium.
But Yasuyuki Konno’s cross from the left found its way into the path of Kurisawa who gave impressive Jubilo keeper Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi no chance with a clinical finish in the 86th minute.
The goal completed a miserable week for Iwata and denied Japan international Kawaguchi a clean sheet on his league debut for Iwata after missing the start of the 2005 campaign through injury.
“I knew the ball was coming my way and when it arrived I just let fly,” said the 22-year-old Kurisawa.
“All the players were really up for this match and showed real desire so we’re pleased to have won.”
At Nissan Stadium, South Korea striker Ahn Jung Hwan continued his impressive return to form after a lengthy spell out injured by firing Yokohama in front after 35 minutes.
Ahn, who scored both goals in Yokohama’s 2-1 victory away to BEC Tero Sasana in Bangkok in the Asian Champions League on Wednesday, picked up a deep pass and cut in to smash the ball in off the crossbar.
Kobe had Japan international Atsuhiro Miura sent off shortly before the interval but the visitors battled back and were rewarded deep into stoppage time when defender Hiroyuki Komoto rose to head home Pavel Hovarth’s free-kick to earn a share of the spoils.
“I thought we had the edge at the end so it’s nice for us to get the goal,” said the 19-year-old Komoto.
“It was obviously great for me to get the goal and great for the team. We had lost our last two matches so today’s point is a valuable one for us,” he added.
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