• Kyodo

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Kashima Antlers stayed on top of the J. League second-stage table after a 3-1 away win to Kawasaki Frontale on Saturday.

Second-half goals from Caio, Mu Kanazaki and Shuhei Akasaki pushed Kashima on to 22 points from nine games as Antlers remained perfect under manager Masatada Ishii through six games.

Elsinho scored for Kawasaki, which lost its third in a row and has faded badly out of the title race since losing Renato in a summer transfer, falling 11 points off the pace.

Ishii’s men are one point ahead of second-place Sanfrecce Hiroshima, who hammered Nagoya Grampus 5-2 at home behind Douglas’ hat trick. Hisato Sato netted the second for Hiroshima with his 156th career goal, moving him within one of the record held by former Japan international Masashi Nakayama.

Vissel Kobe and Yokohama F. Marinos were also big winners on the evening, routing Sagan Tosu 7-1 and first-stage champion Urawa Reds 4-0, respectively. Vissel’s seven goals were a team record.

Shimizu S-Pulse drew 1-1 at home to FC Tokyo, while Albirex Niigata won 1-0 at Vegalta Sendai.

Rout in the Emperor’s Cup

Top-flight Montedio Yamagata thrashed Yamagata University’s Faculty of Medicine 7-1 in the first round of the Emperor’s Cup on Saturday.

Matsumoto Yamaga, the only other J. League first-division team to appear in the opening round as the Japanese F.A. Cup got underway, won 3-0 over regional leaguers Saurcos Fukui.

The Emperor’s Cup final will go back to being held on New Year’s Day after it was staged in December last season because of the Asian Cup in January.

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