Substitute Masafumi Maeda scored the 10,000th goal in the J. League first division in Gamba Osaka’s 3-1 win over Nagoya Grampus Eight as runaway leaders Kashima Antlers went 10 points clear at the top of the table with a last-gasp 2-1 win over Tokyo Verdy on Sunday.
A first-half header from midfielder Chikashi Masuda put Kashima in front at Kashima Stadium but Verdy’s Brazilian striker Washington scrambled home his ninth goal of the season six minutes from time to tie it.
However, substitute Yuzo Tashiro snatched the winner in stoppage time, driving home after Mitsuo Ogasawara’s penalty had come back off the post with Washington in goal in place of Yoshinari Takagi, who was sent off for tripping Ogasawara to concede the spot kick.
Kashima, which is seeking its fifth J. League crown, improved to 28 points after 11 matches and pulled further away from nearest rival Nagoya, whose defeat at Expo Stadium left it 10 points adrift.
Japan striker Masashi Oguro had a hand in all three Gamba goals, setting up Araujo and Yasuhito Endo in the first half before laying on Maeda in the 77th minute for the third and the 10,000th goal in the J. League since its 1993 launch.
Sanfrecce Hiroshima also lost further ground on Kashima after it was beaten 1-0 at home by defending champions Yokohama F. Marinos.
Yokohama moved into fifth, the win giving Takeshi Okada’s men a confidence boost ahead of Wednesday’s Asian Champions League match at China’s Shandong Luneng.
Sanfrecce is level on 17 points with promoted Omiya Ardija, which salvaged a point with a late equalizer from Hiroshi Morita in a 3-3 draw at struggling FC Tokyo.
Elsewhere, Magno Alves grabbed his sixth of the campaign to lift Oita Trinita to a 1-0 win over visiting Kawasaki Frontale while South Korea striker Cho Jae Jin was on target again in Shimizu S-Pulse’s 1-1 draw at home to Cerezo Osaka.
Urawa Reds were held to a 0-0 draw by JEF United Chiba at Saitama Stadium 2002 while the Kashiwa Reysol-Albirex Niigata and Vissel Kobe-Jubilo Iwata matches also finished goalless.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.