Toyota, Aichi Pref. – Shinnosuke Nakatani and Jakub Swierczok continued their goal-scoring form, sending Nagoya Grampus to a 2-1 home win over second-place Yokohama F. Marinos in the J. League first division on Saturday.
Poland’s Euro 2020 member Swierczok, who grabbed a hat trick in Tuesday’s 4-2 win over Daegu FC in the Asian Champions League, doubled the lead against F. Marinos at Toyota Stadium. Center back Nakatani, who joined Swierczok on Tuesday’s scoresheet, opened the scoring in the 12th minute.
Kenyu Sugimoto halved the deficit for the visitors in the 72nd minute but Grampus, Japan’s only side to reach the ACL’s last eight, held on to make it five wins and a draw in their last six league games to move up to third.
Grampus captain Nakatani scored again from a corner, after heading in a goal on Tuesday. Mateus’ long delivery eventually fell to Kim Min-tae, whose effort hit a defender and then the post before falling to Nakatani to stab home from close range.
“I sensed the ball was coming my way,” said Nakatani. “We have great unity with fans and also within the team. I hope we get more momentum by continuing our winning run.”
Marinos dominated the rest of the half, pinning the home side in their own half, confining them to just a handful of counterattacks they failed to make use of.
Daizen Maeda’s toe poke off a Marcos Junior cross went straight at Nagoya keeper Mitch Langerak in the 21st minute, while Elber let it fly from 30 meters to force the Australian into another save three minutes later.
Winning most of the second balls, manager Kevin Muscat’s men continued to probe, with Leo Ceara heading straight at the keeper and Marcos Junior also curling wide of the post from outside the box as Grampus clung onto the slender lead.
Their desperate effort was rewarded just a minute into the second half. Naoki Maeda closed down F. Marinos’ last defender Tomoki Iwata to rob the ball and Swierczok went around keeper Yohei Takaoka to squeeze in the second from a tight angle.
Yokohama brought on former Arsenal winger Ryo Miyaichi 10 minutes into the half for his J. League debut, with the 28-year-old local product drawing cheers even from the home fans.
Sugimoto pulled one back for F. Marinos three minutes after coming on, his header off fellow substitute Jun Amano’s corner finding the gap at the near post.
Despite some close calls in the dying minutes, Grampus secured the win, staying on course for a top-three automatic qualification spot for next season’s ACL.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Kei Chinen was at the double as league-leading Kawasaki Frontale won 3-1 at Tokushima Vortis, moving four points clear of F. Marinos with a game in hand on 69 points.
Vissel Kobe won 1-0 at home to Consadole Sapporo, and moved up to fourth, two points behind Grampus on 51.
Sagan Tosu played out a scoreless home draw against Oita Trinita, while Urawa Reds beat Cerezo Osaka 2-0 at home. Sagan and Reds are also on 51 points, with Kashima Antlers sitting a point behind after they beat Gamba Osaka 3-1 at home.
Diego Oliveira and Leandro each hit a brace as FC Tokyo beat Yokohama FC 4-0 in Yuto Nagatomo’s J1 return, while Avispa Fukuoka was held 1-1 at Shonan Bellmare.
Douglas Vieira hit a hat trick as Sanfrecce won 3-0 at Kashiwa Reysol, and Shimizu S-Pulse beat Vegalta Sendai 2-1 at home.
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