MATSUMOTO, NAGANO PREF. – FC Tokyo remained winless for a second straight round on Sunday, clinging to their J. League first-division lead with a 0-0 draw at Matsumoto Yamaga.
With its home ground, Ajinomoto Stadium, unavailable because of the Rugby World Cup, Tokyo was playing in its fourth of eight straight away games.
The draw left FC Tokyo on 53 points, one ahead of Kashima Antlers, who drew 1-1 at home on Saturday.
Although the visitors were well supported in the crowd of 19,271 at Yamaga’s Sunpro Alwin Stadium, the hosts had the first good chance when a defender slipped trying to tackle Ryo Nagai in the 10th minute. The forward just missed with a tightly angled shot from the right corner of the area.
FC Tokyo keeper Akihiro Hayashi saved a strong header from Yuzo Iwakami after a cross from Serginho found the midfielder in space in the heart of the penalty area. Following the defensive stop, the visitors attacked with increased intensity.
Brazilian forward Diego Oliveira engineered a string of scoring opportunities on which Tokyo failed to capitalize. The failure nearly loomed large in the 71st minute when a Nagai header came off the crossbar.
Yokohama F. Marinos are third with 49 points, three ahead of fourth-place Cerezo Osaka. Two-time defending champions Kawasaki Frontale are fifth on 44 points. Sanfrecce Hiroshima, who drew at home against Nagoya Grampus on Saturday, trail Frontale on goal difference.
Yamaga’s point left the Nagano Prefecture side 17th in the 18-team J1, six points shy of safety.
At Shonan’s BMW Stadium, Elsinho scored a first-half brace in Shimizu S-Pulse’s 6-0 demolition of Bellemare, which is 15th, three points clear of the drop zone.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5