Soccer / J. League

Kashiwa moves atop J. League after seventh straight victory

Kyodo

Kashiwa Reysol stretched their winning streak to seven games Saturday, topping the J. League first division with a 4-2 defeat of last-place Omiya Ardija.

Kosuke Taketomi’s second-half brace, sandwiched by goals from Junya Ito and Cristiano, moved Kashiwa to 27 points, two clear of Gamba Osaka. The four goals were the most Reysol have scored this season.

Omiya remained firmly rooted to the bottom of the table after being handed its 10th loss of the campaign.

Taketomi said it was imperative for his team to win with Reysol hosting Urawa Reds next weekend. Urawa is third, four points behind Kashiwa.

“We were fully aware we could go top if we won today, but we conceded first and had to work our way back into the game,” said Taketomi, who also assisted Cristiano’s 67th-minute goal with a one-two through the box. “It was difficult and I’m just glad we won.

“The most important thing today was to take all three points and move into first place because we’ve got Reds at home next.”

Hiroyuki Komoto opened the scoring in the second minute for the visitors, but Ito netted after 40 minutes to restore parity ahead of the interval.

Taketomi nodded in his first of the afternoon one minute to the hour and made it 3-1 for Kashiwa five minutes later before Cristiano effectively put the match beyond Ardija’s reach.

Yusuke Segawa pulled one back for Omiya five minutes to time, but it was hardly a consolation for Hiroki Shibuya’s side, which has just seven points and seven goals from 13 games.

“It was a tough first half after they scored first, but we caught up just before halftime and pulled away in the second half,” Reysol manager Takahiro Shimotaira said. “The players deserve a lot of credit for fighting back.

“I think we’ve done well to run the streak as long as we have. We’ve got Reds next and hopefully we can make it eight in a row against them.”

In other J1 results, Yokohama F. Marinos beat Shimizu S-Pulse 3-1 away, while Sanfrecce Hiroshima drew 0-0 at home to Jubilo Iwata, who, without Shunsuke Nakamura and Koki Ogawa, were held goalless for the fourth successive game.

Sagan Tosu edged Consadole 1-0 at home, Sapporo’s third successive defeat.