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Kobayashi helps Frontale remain perfect in second stage

Kyodo

Yu Kobayashi struck the winner deep into injury time as Kawasaki Frontale twice came from behind to beat Albirex Niigata 3-2 at home and make it three wins from three in the J. League second stage on Wednesday night.

Missing influential midfielder and captain Kengo Nakamura through injury, Frontale looked to be heading for their first defeat since a 1-0 reverse at home to Urawa Reds on April 24 after Leo Silva put Niigata ahead for the second time at Todoroki Stadium.

But Niigata defender Yuki Kobayashi turned into his own net six minutes from time and Yu Kobayashi back-heeled the winner to secure the points in the 94th minute.

Yokohama F Marinos and Urawa Reds also left it late as both won to make it nine points out of nine.

Marinos beat Vissel Kobe 3-2 at home, Martinus hitting the winner in the 91st minute, while Shinzo Koroki struck in the 93rd in a 1-0 win at Vegalta Sendai.

At Todoroki, Niigata broke the deadlock 10 minutes before the break with a well-taken finish from Gakuto Notsuda. The striker, on loan from Sanfrecce, took a lay-off from Ryohei Yamazaki and rattled the ball in off the inside of the post from just outside the box.

The visitors’ joy was short-lived, as Rio Olympic midfielder Ryota Oshima netted three minutes later with a blistering effort into the top right-hand corner.

But Niigata got the rub of the green to take the lead midway through the second half.

Oshima’s pass hit referee Kazuyoshi Enomoto and the ball fell kindly for Albirex, and Leo Silva finished a one-two with Rafael Silva to slot past Kawasaki goalkeeper Jung Sung-ryong from a tight angle.

Niigata goalkeeper Tatsuya Morita produced a pair of good saves to deny Yu Kobayashi and Eduardo Neto as Kawasaki looked to hit back and the home side enjoyed some good fortune of its own to draw level.

Koji Hashimoto took a return pass from Oshima and crossed into the box. Morita got a hand to the cross but the ball hit Yu Kobayashi before Yuki Kobayashi turned it over his own line.

Yu Kobayashi then had the last word, flicking home with shades of offside to spark delirious scenes among home fans.

In other games, Avispa Fukuoka posted only their third win of the season, Mizuki Hamada’s late goal seeing off FC Tokyo 2-1 at Level-5 Stadium, while Crisitano’s equalizer earned Kashiwa Reysol a 3-3 draw at home to reigning champions Sanfrecce Hiroshima.

Yuma Suzuki sealed a 3-0 win for first-stage winners Kashima Antlers at home to Nagoya Grampus and a double from Yohei Toyoda gave Sagan Tosu a 2-0 win at Shonan Bellmare.

Omiya Ardija drew 0-0 at home to Gamba Osaka, while Ventforet Kofu against Jubilo Iwata also finished goalless.