NAGOYA - Former England international Jay Bothroyd struck twice in the first half to lead visiting Consadole Sapporo to a 2-1 win over 10-man Nagoya Grampus in the J. League first division on Sunday.
With just five games remaining, the loss at Paloma Mizuho Stadium could prove costly for Grampus, now just one point outside the relegation zone in 14th place.
Consadole, meanwhile, moved into third place and are mathematically guaranteed to remain in the top flight in just their second season since being promoted from J2.
In a game with several contentious moments, two of the three goals came from the penalty spot.
The home team was reduced to 10 men in first-half stoppage time when midfielder Kohei Hattanda received his second yellow card for a sliding challenge on Kazuki Fukai.
Bothroyd opened the scoring in the eighth minute after teammate Ryosuke Shindo was brought down inside the area by Grampus left-back Kazuki Kushibiki.
Playing as a lone striker, the 36-year-old Bothroyd calmly gave the visitors the lead after sending Australian goalkeeper Mitchell Langerak in the wrong direction with his spot kick.
The J. League’s leading scorer Jo equalized with goal No. 22 for the season, converting from the spot in the 25th minute after Hiroki Miyazawa was penalized for bringing down Gabriel Xavier.
Thailand international Chanathip Songkrasin set up what proved to be Bothroyd’s winner three minutes after the break with a clever back-heel pass from the edge of the box. Bothroyd had space to turn inside the area and blast the ball first-time past Langerak.
The 1.9-meter forward, who missed an opportunity for a hat trick late in the match, said he was glad to help put Consadole in strong contention for an Asian Champions League berth with four rounds remaining.
“In England we say this is the business part of the season. In big games you need big performances and today I felt the team did well and I was very happy with my performance as well,” said Bothroyd, who has a single cap for England.
“I was a bit disappointed at the end that I didn’t score to get a hat trick, but three points was the most important thing today.”
“This was a big game for us. We knew that we needed to win to get ourselves in third position.”
Brazilian striker Jo was taken from the ground on a stretcher after apparently sustaining a leg injury in the final seconds of the game, as Grampus pushed for an equalizer from a corner.