The run continues - Yokohama F Marinos still reign supreme at the top of the J1 after six games, their 100% record firmly intact, though they were made to sweat in their most recent match against Kawasaki Frontale.
An 89th minute goal from Jin Hanato earning the spoils for Marinos, and condemning Frontale to their third defeat of the season. Second place Urawa Red’s kept pace with the Marinos though, by beating Shonan Bellmare, they remained in touching distant just two points behind the team in first. Marinos travel to Albirex Niigata this weekend whilst Urawa Red’s face third place Omiya Ardija in a local derby; if the Squirrels can avoid defeat to the Red’s, then they will set a new record for being unbeaten in the J1, their run will have spanned 18 games, beating the record set by Kashima Antlers in 2009. We could also see a gap opening up at the top as Marinos, Urawa Red’s and Ardija start to pull away.
Nagoya Grampus will not want to see the top three pull away and after a 2-0 victory over Albirex will be in confident mood as they face FC Tokyo who have lost four on the bounce. Their latest defeat came at the hands of Vegalta Sendai, who are currently sitting mid-table. Sendai face Frontale both hoping for a victory to move them up the table; as they will agree with each other when they say that their current position is not where they want to be.
Shimizu S-Pulse have now won back-to-back games, move them firmly away from the relegation zone, however the latest win compounds the misery on Jubilo Iwata as they have had an abysmal start to the season and find themselves joint bottom with Oita Trinita. S-Pa faces Cerezo Osaka, bottom club Trinita travel to Bellmare whilst Jubilo face Champions Sanfreece Hiroshima. The Champions will be hoping for a successful away trip to Iwata and a chance to move up into fourth position with a win and a chance to put themselves back in the title picture.
Kashima Antlers are another who is hoping to mount a title challenge; Antlers currently sit fifth and will be hoping to make it three wins in their last three as they welcome J2 Champions Ventforet Kofu. Venforet will have been extremely happy with their 3-1 win over Kashiwa Reysol in week six a result that sees them sitting in eighth position.Reysol then will be looking to bounce back with victory over a Sagan Tosu side that have lost their last two.
J-League sides in the AFC Champions League
Just a quick insight to how J1 sides Sanfreece, Urawa Red’s, Reysol and Vegalta Sendai are fairing in this season AFC Champions League. J1 Champions Sanfreece currently find themselves bottom of their group with hope of qualification all but gone. They would need to win their last two and hope that South Korean side Pohang Steelers and Chinese side Beijing Guoan slip up. Vegalta Sendai who has finally recorded a win in the AFC Champions League has given them a realistic chance of qualification to the next stage; a win in their next group game against Thailand’s Buriram United should see them through.
For Urawa Red’s qualification is still open, though they are currently third, they are just two points behind South Korean’s Jeonbuk Motors. Urawa has already played Jeonbuk twice so will be relying on other clubs to do them a favour. Reysol are all but assured qualification, needing just one point to do so. A draw with Korean’s Suwon Bluewings last time out prevented a place in the last 16 - for now.
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