It is “as you were” for the majority of teams in J2 this week.
Leaders Vissel Kobe squeezed out a 2-1 win at lowly Yokohama FC. After a goalless first half at Mitsuzawa, Popo gave the visitors the lead after cutting in and sliding a left foot shot past Shibasaki. Yuzo Tashiro really should have doubled Kobe’s lead but he shot straight at the ‘keeper when clean through. Kaito Yamamoto prevented Yokohama leveling when he saved after his own defender prodded the ball goalwards, only for Yokohama’s Bae Jin Seung to head the home side level from Nogami’s perfect cross. With 5 minutes left on the clock substitute Takayuki Yoshida directed a deft header into the net to give Vissel the win that keeps them at the summit. Gamba Osaka remain hot on their heels after swatting aside Kataller Toyama in front of a record Toyama crowd of over 13,000. Gamba were out of the blocks very quickly as Leandro put them ahead inside a minute, capitalizing on a poor parry from Toyama ‘keeper Morita. Leandro doubled his tally when again he reacted quickest to some more average goalkeeping, prodding home after Morita had blocked his first effort. Kataller started the second half brightly, but were undone with a sucker-punch when Leandro scored his third from the penalty spot, after he himself had been pulled back in the area. Sho Kurata added Gamba’s fourth to leave Kenta Hasegawa purring with delight.
Fagiano Okayama remain unbeaten after a routine 2-0 win against Thespa Kusatsu Gunma at Kanko Stadium. Ryujiro Ueda headed Fagiano in front early in the second half before Tomoyuki Arata netted his 7th of an already productive season, after receiving a pass from the impressive Ren Sengoku. V-Varen Nagasaki‘s winning run came to a halt as they were held at home by an improving Consadole Sapporo. Chances were at a premium in Nagasaki.
Tochigi SC find themselves in the play-off places after they disposed of FC Gifu at the Tochigi Green Stadium. Takuro Kikuoka curled in a beautiful free kick just on the stroke of half time and Cristiano sealed the win for Tochigi when he smacked home after a cut back. Rounding out the top 6 are the ever unpredictable Kyoto Sanga who beat Gainare Tottori 3-0 at Nishikyogoku. Goals from Yokotani, Kubo & Ando were easily enough for the men in purple, but it leaves Gainare’s good start to the season all but a distant memory.
Montedio Yamagata snapped their three game losing streaking by edging out Roasso Kumamoto at a snowy ND Soft stadium. Satoshi Horinouchi’s fine strike, his first since his move from Yokohama in the summer, was enough for the hosts. Mito Hollyhock won their third game of the week when they won at Giravanz Kitakyushu in a clash of sides managed by brothers. A fantastic strike from Koji Hashimoto gave Mito a half time lead, and Yuki Yamamura connected with a cross from the right to seal the points for Tetsuji Hashiratani’s side at the expense of his brother Koichi.
Tokushima Vortis prevailed in the “Shikoku derby” by beating Ehime FC 3-2 at Pocari Sweat Stadium. Yuya Hashiuchi headed the home side in front on the half hour and Junya Osaki tapped in after Alex’s shot had been saved. Ehime pulled a goal back almost immediately through Hiroshi Azuma but Vortis’ 2 goal lead was restored by a Douglas penalty. Ehime scored again in injury time but it wasn’t enough to stop Shikoku bragging rights belonging to the club from Naruto. Winning the Shikoku derby also means you win this neat little flag.
Finally, JEF United snatched a late, late point against Avispa Fukuoka in somewhat controversial circumstances. The Kyushu side had taken the lead after Daisuke Sakata finished off a move that started with ‘keeper Mizutani and finished 8 seconds later with Sakata’s cool finish. They looked on course to hold that lead until defender Satoshi Yamaguchi rose, possibly handling it, possibly fouling the keeper, to put the ball in the net.
*Matsumoto Yamaga‘s game against Tokyo Verdy was postponed due to too much snow at the Alwin Stadium
- Montedio Yamagata 1-0 Roasso Kumamoto
- Tochigi SC 2-0 FC Gifu
- Fagiano Okayama 2-0 Thespa Kusatsu Gunma
- Giravanz Kitakyushu 0-2 Mito Hollyhock
- V-Varen Nagasaki 0-0 Consadole Sapporo
- Kyoto Sanga 3-0 Gainare Tottori
- JEF United 1-1 Avispa Fukuoka
- Yokohama FC 1-2 Vissel Kobe
- Kataller Toyama 0-4 Gamba Osaka
- Tokushima Vortis 3-2 Ehime FC