As the blog post title would suggest, it was a very big Monday in J2, plus all the thrills and spills you have come to expect from Japan’s second tier.
The biggest game of the day saw leaders Vissel Kobe beat Kansai neighbours Gamba Osaka 2-0 and retain their stranglehold on the division. By all accounts the home side stifled Gamba’s attempts to dictate the pace of the game with high tempo pressing game and they were rewarded with second half strikes from Yuzo Tashiro & Keijiro Ogawa, strikes which ended Gamba’s unbeaten record. The win moves Vissel 5 points clear at the top and pushes Gamba down to third.
Up into second place are V-Varen Nagasaki, although they could only muster a 0-0 draw against Mito Hollyhock at K’s Denki Stadium. Not really much to write about here.
No doubt where the most exciting game of the day was. If you wanted goals then Kanko Stadium, Okayama was the place to be as Fagiano Okayama beat Montedio Yamagata 4-3. Fagi went in front through Yuki Oshitani’s early goal only to be pegged back by Yuki Nakashima’s close range header. Two goals in 4 minutes by Tadokoro and Sawaguchi seemed to put Fagiano clear, but Monte pulled one back quickly through Hirose and at the break it was 3-2 to the home side. Montedio thoroughly outplayed their hosts in the second and missed numerous chances before Hayashi converted a 70th minute penalty to level things up. It was set-up for a grandstand finish and Tadokoro sent the home fans wild when he struck an unstoppable shot into the top corner with 2 minutes left to give Fagiano the win. Montedio will not be able to believe that they came away with nothing – they had 17 corners and 22 shots. If they play like that often they will definitely be in the play-off mix.
Tochigi SC suffered a surprise defeat on Sunday night as were comprehensively beaten 3-0 by Ehime FC in Matsuyama. The Mikan-men won thanks to goals from Grampus old boy Keiji Yoshimura, Masaru Kato & Kazu Kawahara. JEF United round out the top 6 after they left it late to beat FC Gifu 1-0 via a very fortuitous Jair goal 4 minutes from time.
Talking of late goals, Kyoto Sanga were undone by an injury time Matsumoto Yamaga winner in their game at Nishikyogoku, and to add insult to injury it was an own goal. Yamaga continue their Jekyll and Hyde home and away form. Kataller Toyama were also left to rue a late goal as Yasuhiro Okuyama stole a precious point for Gainare Tottori in their Sunday evening game. Toyama had taken the lead through Funatsu and missed a host of chances to put the game to bed.
Roasso Kumamoto continued their upward trajectory as they easily dispatched Tokushima Vortis 3-0 at the Pocari Sweat Stadium. They ran out easy winners thanks to goals from Yuki Horigome, Kazuki Saito & Chikara Fujimoto. Roasso have now won their last three games and have scored 3 goals in each of those games. Goals from Yokono and Yasushi Okamoto gave Consadole Sapporo a timely 2-1 at Giravanz Kitakyushu. Kakimoto had levelled for the hosts who have now lost their last 6 games. They are in trouble.
Thespa Kusatsu Gunma were beaten 1-0 at home by Tokyo Verdy. Kim Jong-Pil’s 15th minute strike was enough for the visitors. Finally, Yokohama FC suffered their third home defeat in a row as Avispa Fukuoka beat them 1-0 at Mitsuzawa. Shunsuke Tsutumi’s first half goal proving the difference between the two sides.