URAWA - Striker Shinzo Koroki scored his 10th J. League goal of the season and Fabricio netted an injury-time penalty as Urawa Reds beat Kawasaki Frontale 2-0 on Wednesday night.
The victory was the second in a row against top-three opposition for Reds, following an emphatic 4-1 win away to league leaders Sanfrecce Hiroshima on Saturday.
Reds struck the winner in the seventh minute after right back Takuya Iwanami played a ball from inside halfway to Yuki Muto. The forward made a run down the right wing and crossed to Koroki, who neatly chipped past diving Frontale keeper Jung sung-Ryong from close range.
“It was a really great cross (from Muto). I kept one eye on the keeper and could see there was a small margin to score,” Koroki said.
“You know it’s going to be a tough game playing Frontale, so I’m glad we got the points for the win.”
Urawa doubled the lead after Tadanari Lee won a penalty in the second minute of injury time. The former Japan international made a galloping run from within his own half to just inside the Frontale box, where he was felled from behind by substitute Yuto Suzuki.
Brazilian-born midfielder Fabricio converted the spot kick in the bottom left corner after sending Jung in the wrong direction.
With newly appointed national team manager Hajime Moriyasu in the stands at Saitama Stadium, the Reds absorbed attacking pressure from Frontale for much of the match.
They were lucky to avoid conceding an equalizer in the 30th minute when Yu Kobayashi managed to get free inside the box but shot wide of the mark.
Urawa keeper Shusaku Nishikawa denied Kobayashi seven minutes later, rushing off his line to block a shot from the edge of the six-yard box.
Nishikawa came to the rescue again in the 66th minute, stopping Kobayashi one on one from close range after the striker pounced on a poorly placed back pass from Reds midfielder Daiki Hashioka.
Kobayashi capped his frustrating night by heading wide of the upright after beating two defenders in the air with six minutes left on the clock.
Urawa climbed from ninth to seventh with the win, while Frontale remained in third, three points clear of Consadole Sapporo, who defeated V-Varen Nagasaki 3-2 on Wednesday night.
In other first-division results, league-leading scorer Patric bagged a brace as first-place Sanfrecce bounced back with a 4-1 win away to Yokohama F. Marinos.
Nagoya Grampus broke a five-month spell without a league win to beat Vegalta Sendai 2-1 on the road, while second-place FC Tokyo defeated Kashima Antlers by the same score.
Own goals from Cerezo Osaka and Vissel Kobe canceled each other out in a 1-1 draw, while Gamba Osaka and Jubilo Iwata also finished 1-1 after Kentaro Oi equalized for the home side in the 93rd minute at Yamaha Stadium.
Ryogo Nagasaki scored a brace as Shonan Bellmare defeated Kashiwa Reysol 2-0. Sagan Tosu remained winless since the arrival of star signing Fernando Torres following a 1-0 loss to Shimizu S-Pulse.