CHIBA – JEF United Chiba squandered another golden chance to notch its first win of the season in a 1-1 draw with fellow strugglers Jubilo Iwata as surprise package Montedio Yamagata temporarily went top of the J. League on Saturday.
An own goal from Daisuke Nasu handed Chiba the lead at Fukuda Denshi Arena but after dominating for long periods, the home side switched off and allowed Ryoichi Maeda to snatch a late point for the visitors.
Kashiwa Reysol, thrashed 4-1 at Sanfrecce Hiroshima, have also yet to get off the mark but Yokohama F. Marinos consigned their winless start to the dustbin in emphatic fashion with a 5-0 rout of Vissel Kobe. Kazuma Watanabe and Koji Yamase both scored twice at Nippatsu Mitsuzawa Stadium.
At the top of the table, promoted Yamagata moved ahead of Albirex Niigata on goal difference after Kyoto Sanga condemned Niigata to its first defeat, Paulinho’s fourth-minute goal securing a 1-0 win at Nishikyogoku Stadium.
Yamagata prevailed thanks to Tatsuya Furuhashi’s 64th-minute header in a 1-0 win away to Oita Trinita, who had Taikai Uemoto dismissed shortly after Furuhashi had broken the deadlock.
Kyoto is tied on nine points with Kashima Antlers, who play Sunday.
At Fukuda Denshi Arena, Chiba made a lively start and got the break it deserved to take the lead on 20 minutes.
Seiichiro Maki threw himself at Alex’s free kick and Jubilo keeper Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi came for the ball but watched it ricochet off Nasu and creep inside his near post.
But for the fourth time in its last five league and cup games, Chiba’s inability to defend its lead was exposed as Maeda stole in unmarked to head home Yuichi Komano’s free kick with 15 minutes remaining.
“That’s probably the worst we have played in the first half this season but my players really showed what they were made of in the second half,” said Iwata manager Masaaki Yanagishita. “Hopefully we can play for 90 minutes in our next game like we did in the second half today.”
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