Sanfrecce go top as Consadole stun Vegalta


League leaders Vegalta Sendai fell to a shock 2-1 defeat to bottom-of-the-table Consadole Sapporo on Saturday through a last-minute own goal, leaving Sanfrecce Hiroshima to take advantage with a 2-1 win at Omiya Ardija to climb back to the top of the J. League.

Sendai had taken a 12th-minute lead at Sapporo in an afternoon kickoff through defender Kodai Watanabe, but failed to turn the screw on the hapless Hokkaido outfit, which had won just twice in 20 games this season. A couple of second-half substitutions gave Consadole fresh legs and they pulled level in the 79th minute through Takuma Hidaka, before Vegalta gifted their hosts the points from midfielder Yasuaki Okamoto’s cross in the fourth minute of time added on.

At Omiya, Ardija gave their visitors Hiroshima the lead in similar fashion in the 24th minute before Slovenian striker Zlatan Ljubijankic evened the score shortly before halftime. But midfielder Kohei Shimizu put Sanfrecce back in front four minutes after the break and Hiroshima held on for the points to climb back above Sendai at the top of the table.

At Shimizu, Nagoya’s Taishi Taguchi equalized for the visitors in the 11th minute after they had conceded an early own goal, but Toshiyuki Takagi gave S-Pulse the lead again on the stroke of halftime and Genki Omae extended the margin in the 74th. Columbian midfielder Danilson Cordoba pulled one back for Grampus four minutes from time, but S-Pulse held on for a 3-2 victory.

Urawa Reds crashed to 1-0 defeat at Kobe, which played the last half hour with 10 men after Keijiro Ogawa picked up a second yellow card. Yoshito Okubo scored the only goal of the game in the 23rd minute.

Honors were even in the Osaka derby, where a brace from Takuma Edamura gave Cerezo a two-goal lead, but a double in reply from Gamba’s Akihiro Sato evened the score to give the home side a valuable point and keep it eight clear of Sapporo at the bottom.

Goals from Renato and Yasushi Endo in either half gave Kashima Antlers a 2-1 win over Jubilo Iwata after going behind to a 3rd-minute Ryoichi Maeda strike, while two second-half goals saw Sagan Tosu prevail by a similar scoreline at Kawasaki.

Kashiwa came from a goal down to secure a share of the points with a 1-1 draw at home to FC Tokyo, while at Yokohama, F. Marinos beat Albirex Niigata 3-2. Atomu Tanaka twice gave the visitors the lead, but first Yuji Nakazawa and then Marquinhos drew the hosts level, before Nakazawa notched the winner three minutes from time.