KOBE – FC Tokyo drew even with J. League first division leader Kashima Antlers on 56 points with a 3-1 rout at Vissel Kobe on Saturday.
Yojiro Takahagi, Arthur Silva and Kento Hashimoto all delivered vital goals for the second-place club, which now trails Kashima on goal difference only.
The game was FC Tokyo’s sixth straight away game due to Ajinomoto Stadium being used as a main Rugby World Cup venue. During that time FC Tokyo has two wins, two losses and two draws.
Keigo Higashi shifted the visitors into gear at Noevir Stadium when he lofted the ball over Vissel defender Dankler toward Takahagi, who tapped it off the right post. The ball rolled along the goal line before making up its mind and going in near the far post.
Silva followed up four minutes later from outside the left corner of the penalty area, sending a rocket above Vissel goalkeeper Hiroki Iikura and into the back of the net.
In the 34th minute, Brazilian forward Diego Oliveira dribbled through Kobe’s defense and his through pass found Hashimoto in front of goal. The midfielder’s sliding finish sent the ball past Iikura to make it 3-0 before the break.
Vissel’s sole goal came in the 66th when Lebanese defender Joan Oumari headed in from a corner kick, FC Tokyo ‘keeper Akihiro Hayashi getting a hand to it but failing to deflect it to safety.
In other first division matches, Yokohama F. Marinos stayed one point back of Tokyo in third place with a convincing 3-1 Kanagawa derby win over Shonan Bellmare at Nippatsu Mitsuzawa Stadium.
The loss dropped Bellmare into 16th place on 31 points in the promotion-relegation playoff spot, trailing 15th-place Sagan Tosu by one point.
Sagan were minutes from victory at Jubilo Iwata but drew 2-2. A failed clearance teed up Adailton for a spectacular 84th-minute overhead-kick equalizer.
Sanfrecce Hiroshima are fourth on 50 points, five back of Marinos after winning 2-1 at Shimizu S-Pulse on Douglas Vieira’s 80th-minute score. Two-time defending champion Kawasaki Frontale are sixth on 48 after drawing 2-2 at Gamba Osaka.
Vegalta Sendai won 2-0 at Nagoya Grampus, who are now two points away from the drop zone.