OITA – Daiki Takamatsu bagged his third goal in two games as Oita Trinita condemned Urawa Reds to their first defeat in eight matches with a 2-1 win in the J. League on Wednesday.
Takamatsu scrambled home the opener after 10 minutes and Daisuke Takahashi added a second-half thunderbolt as Urawa conceded top spot in the first division to defending champions Gamba Osaka.
Magno Alves struck twice as Gamba cruised to a 3-0 win over visiting Albirex Niigata while Kawasaki Frontale stayed hot on Gamba’s heels after edging JEF United Chiba 2-1 at Fukuda Denshi Arena.
With 21 games played, Gamba leads the standings with 46 points, Frontale are two points behind in second and Urawa dropped to third on 43.
Urawa was the last team to beat Oita at the end of July but Takamatsu put his side on course for revenge at Kyushu Oil Dome when he prodded over the line following a goalmouth scramble.
In-form striker Shota Matsuhashi spurned a glorious chance to double Oita’s lead in the 19th minute, heading over an open goal after Tsukasa Umesaki’s shot had come back off the crossbar.
But Takahashi smashed the second past Norihiro Yamagishi on the hour and although league-leading scorer Washington replied with a clinical finish, Oita held on with 10 men to go sixth in the table.
“You could see by the way we played tonight how good the atmosphere in the team is,” said Takamatsu.
“We kept our shape and played as a solid unit. Hopefully we can keep it going and keep edging further up the table.”
Shimizu S-Pulse stayed in fourth after Cho Jae Jin’s 12th of the season gave them a 1-0 win over Kyoto Purple Sanga and Kashima Antlers’ first win in three matches kept them in fifth after a 2-1 defeat of Nagoya Grampus Eight.
Cerezo Osaka, meanwhile, moved off the foot of the table as former Japan striker Akinori Nishizawa’s 83rd-minute strike proved decisive in the 3-2 win at FC Tokyo and Avispa Fukuoka slipped into last place after a 2-2 draw away to Omiya Ardija.
In other matches, Yokohama F. Marinos beat Ventforet Kofu 3-0 to make it two wins out of two under new manager Takashi Mizunuma.
Japan striker Hisato Sato struck twice to give Sanfrecce Hiroshima a 2-1 win at home to Jubilo Iwata.
The J. League takes a break for Japan’s Asian Cup qualifiers away to Saudi Arabia and Yemen and resumes Sept. 9.
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