KAWASAKI - Kawasaki Frontale captain Yu Kobayashi equalized in the second half to salvage a 1-1 draw against Consadole Sapporo on Friday.
In the return to J1 action following the international break, the two-time defending champions fell behind against the run of play when Consadole striker Musashi Suzuki scored from the spot in the 39th minute at Todoroki Stadium.
Former England international Jay Bothroyd won the penalty for the visitors when he was brought down in the area by Frontale’s Brazilian center-back Jesiel.
Frontale had a chance to take the lead after Ryota Hayasaka was penalized for a foul on Tatsuya Hasegawa in the 25th minute. But Leandro Damiao’s attempt from the spot was foiled by Consadole goalkeeper Gu Sung-yun, who dived to his left but blocked the shot to the middle of goal with his feet.
With the hosts dictating the flow but struggling to convert, Frontale captain Kobayashi finally found the net in the 69th minute when Akihiro Ienaga found him unmarked in the area with a short cross.
The draw extended second-place Frontale’s unbeaten run to 11 league games. Toru Oniki’s men are five points back behind leader FC Tokyo, which hosts struggling Vissel Kobe on Saturday.
The result was a welcome turnaround for Mihailo Petrovic’s Consadole, who suffered a 7-0 thrashing in their previous league visit to Todoroki last September.
In other first-division games, the Kashima Antlers climbed into the top three with a 2-0 defeat of visiting Cerezo Osaka.
Serginho put the Antlers ahead early in the second half before Ryohei Shirasaki doubled the lead.
At Edion Stadium, Sanfrecce Hiroshima beat Shonan Bellmare 2-0, with second-half goals from Douglas Vieira and Sho Inagaki.