Yokohama back on top of J. League table


Struggling Ventforet Kofu pulled off a stunning 2-0 upset win over Sanfrecce Hiroshima, and Yokohama F. Marinos took full advantage to replace the reigning champions at the top of the J. League thanks to a 3-0 win at home to Urawa Reds on Wednesday night.

Yokohama, powered by a double from Shunsuke Nakamura either side of Marquinhos’ 16th goal of the season, improved to 47 points with 11 games left, three ahead of Hiroshima and four ahead of third-place Reds.

Kofu, just one place above the drop zone, took a shock lead after just eight minutes, Naoaki Aoyama flicking on Akito Kawamoto’s cross for Yoshifumi Kashiwa to lash home at the far post.

Hiroshima looked dangerous going forward and well-worked moves saw them twice go close at the start of the second half.

But Kazunari Hosaka, with time and space, picked his spot to send a scorching shot beyond Shusaku Nishikawa and into the top corner for his first goal of the season as Kofu held for their first home win since May 3.

“We hadn’t won at home for three months and the fans have suffered so I am glad we won,” said Kashiwa. “We desperately wanted to get a result and it is good because we have kept a clean sheet and won 2-0.”

In other games, Kashima Antlers fell further off the pace after a 4-3 defeat away to Shimizu S-Pulse, substitute Toshiyuki Takagi grabbing a hat-trick for S-Pulse.

Kashima (38) dropped to fifth on goal difference behind Cerezo Osaka, who drew 1-1 away to Vegalta Sendai, while freefalling Omiya Ardija (36) went down 2-1 at Kawasaki Frontale.

Masato Kudo and Kenta Kano both scored twice as Kashiwa Reysol whipped Shonan Bellmare 5-2, Yohei Toyoda grabbed a brace to give Sagan Tosu a 3-2 win at FC Tokyo and Kengo Kawamata also netted a double to increase Jubilo Iwata’s relegation fears with a 4-2 win at Big Swan.

Josh Kennedy scored both of his side’s goals in the space of four second-half minutes as Nagoya Grampus beat bottom club Oita Trinita 2-1.

Australia taps Kennedy


Nagoya Grampus striker Josh Kennedy has been selected to the Australia squad that will play Brazil in a friendly on Sept. 7, Grampus said Wednesday.

Kennedy is scheduled to return to Japan on Sept. 9 and as a result will miss the second round of the Emperor’s Cup the previous day.