SAITAMA – Urawa Reds blew the chance to move level on points with Gamba Osaka at the top of the J. League on Sunday after being held to a 1-1 draw by unfashionable neighbor Omiya Ardija.
Kota Yoshihara set up Yoshiyuki Kobayashi to the way to a shock win at Saitama Stadium 2002. But Brazilian striker Washington came to Urawa’s rescue when he hit his second goal of the week 16 minutes from time to earn a point for the defending champions.
Urawa has 19 points from 10 games, two behind Gamba, which also had to settle for a point earlier in the day after a 1-1 draw at home to Shimizu S-Pulse, former Gamba man Fernandinho canceling out Akihiro Ienaga’s 67th-minute opener for the home side.
At Todoroki Stadium, Kawasaki Frontale warmed up for their midweek Asian Champions League clash with Arema Malang with a comprehensive 5-2 defeat of FC Tokyo to improve to 18 points along with Jubilo Iwata, who edged Nagoya Grampus Eight thanks to Bobby Cullen’s fifth goal of the season.
Promoted Kashiwa Reysol is also three points behind Gamba after a 1-1 draw with local rival JEF United Chiba in Sunday’s evening game at Fukuda Denshi Arena.
In other matches, former Real Mallorca striker Yoshito Okubo was on target again as Vissel Kobe cruised to a 3-0 win at bottom club Yokohama FC, while a late penalty from Ueslei gave Sanfrecce Hiroshima a 2-1 win at Oita Trinita.
Masaki Chugo’s second-half equalizer earned Kashima Antlers a 1-1 draw against rapidly improving Yokohama F. Marinos, and an Edmilson double secured a 3-1 win for Albirex Niigata at home to Ventforet Kofu.
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