IWATA, Shizuoka Pref. – Jubilo Iwata dealt Yokohama FC’s survival hopes another savage blow after romping to a 3-0 win over the first-division whipping boys in the J. League on Saturday.
Ryoichi Maeda masterminded Yokohama’s downfall with an exquisite first-half double and Takayuki Chano scored a late third to ensure Iwata extended their unbeaten start under new manager Atsushi Uchiyama to three games.
The result kept Jubilo in eighth place in the table but Yokohama needs to pull off an escape act that even Houdini would not fancy attempting to avoid a return to the J. League’s backwaters after just one season in the top flight.
With just seven games left to play, Yokohama are 18 points adrift of Sanfreece Hiroshima and 13 behind Omiya Ardija, who climbed into the third-from-bottom playoff spot after a shock 2-0 win at Yokohama F Marinos.
The bottom two sides are automatically relegated while the team that finishes the season in 16th spot has the chance to secure first-division status for next year in a two-leg playoff against the third-placed finishers in J2 in December.
Iwata put Yokohama under the cosh from the opening whistle at Yamaha Stadium but had to wait until the 32nd minute to break the deadlock.
Bobby Cullen fired a Maeda pass inches wide but the latter made no mistake moments later when he collected a pass from Norihiro Nishi and turned to rap a peach of a shot into the far right-hand corner.
Cullen and Nishi both went close to adding to the scoreline before Maeda made it 2-0 a minute before the break with another finish that had first-class quality written all over it.
Yokohama, whose only real chance came when Kazuyoshi Miura flashed a header just over in the 19th minute, did well to limit the damage in the first half and Maeda nearly completed a hat-trick when he clipped the post with a neat flick in time added on.
The one-way traffic continued after the break and substitute Takenori Hayashi hit the bar before former Japan defender Chano hooked home to wrap up the win three minutes from time.
At Home’s Stadium, Yoshito hit his 14th of the season as Vissel Kobe edged Shimizu S-Pulse 1-0.
In an earlier match, Nagoya Grampus Eight eased to a 2-0 win over 10-man Kashiwa Reysol at Mizuho Stadium.
South Korean midfielder Kim Jung Woo opened the scoring with a fine effort in the 23rd minute.
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