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An unexpected defeat for Nagoya Grampus has reined in the J. League’s one-horse title race — for now at least — but the competition at the other end of the table is just getting started.

While Nagoya enjoys an eight-point cushion at the top despite Sunday’s 4-1 loss to Albirex Niigata, the league’s whipping boys have no such room to maneuver. Shonan Bellmare and Kyoto Sanga both look doomed to occupy two of the three relegation spots on 16 points each, but who will join them in J2 next season is anyone’s guess.

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