KAWASAKI – Brazilian striker Diego Oliveira scored a first-half hat trick as Kashiwa Reysol clipped high-flying Kawasaki Frontale’s wings with a 5-2 win in the J. League first division on Saturday.
Oliveira struck twice in the first five minutes and Akimi Barada grabbed a third for the visitors after Kentaro Moriya had pulled one back for league-leading Frontale in the 17th minute at Todoroki Stadium.
Oliveira scored his third of the night and 10th of the season on 32 minutes, before being replaced early in the second half by Kosuke Taketomi, who set up Hiroto Nakagawa for Reysol’s fifth. Koji Miyoshi replied late for Frontale.
“We expected a tough game but I was able to score goals and they helped us get a precious win so I am delighted,” said Oliveira, who had to come off with an unspecified injury after overstretching his leg in the first half.
Despite the defeat, Frontale (60) remained five points clear in the overall standings after second-place Urawa Reds lost 2-1 at Vissel Kobe, Kazuma Watanabe scoring what turned out to be the decider in the 54th minute at Noevir Stadium.
Third-placed Kashima Antlers (53) drew 2-2 at Yokohama F. Marinos thanks to Fabricio’s late tying goal, Kosei Shibasaki sealed a 2-0 win for Sanfrecce Hiroshima at Vegalta Sendai to put the defending champions on 46 points in fourth place.
Kashiwa took just four minutes to open the scoring, Oliveira getting on the end of a corner from compatriot Cristiano to beat Jung Sung-ryong with a header that took a deflection off Kawasaki’s Shogo Taniguchi.
Frontale were still reeling from that blow when Kashiwa extended its lead straight from the restart, Nakagawa capitalizing on sloppy defending by Elsinho to pull the ball back for Oliveira to steer home and make it 2-0.
Kawasaki hit back in the 17th, Elsinho taking a pass from Kengo Nakamura before picking out Moriya to sweep home from just inside the area, only for Reysol to restore their two-goal cushion just before the half-hour mark.
Oliveira headed Cristiano’s free kick against the cross bar before defender Barada snapped up the rebound, and Oliveira then completed his three-goal performance, losing his marker to head home another Cristiano corner.
“Set pieces are something that we have been working hard on every day in training and we know the kind of quality balls Cristiano can deliver. They create chances for us and I am glad they have led to goals,” Oliveira said.
Nakagawa took a through pass from Taketomi and made it 5-1 in the 75th before substitute Miyoshi bundled home for Frontale after Kashiwa goalkeeper Kosuke Nakamura could only parry a header from Yu Kobayashi.
In other games, a double from Shun Nagasawa gave Gamba Osaka a 2-1 win at Shonan Bellmare and Yohei Toyoda’s lone goal saw Sagan Tosu edge Albirex Niigata 1-0 at home.
A 92nd-minute equalizer from Masato Kurogi salvaged a 2-2 draw for Ventforet Kofu at home to Omiya Ardija, while Shoya Nakajima also hit a late equalizer to earn FC Tokyo a 1-1 draw at relegation-threatened Nagoya Grampus.
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