This week, we shall start at the top and with that the Squirrels who tasted defeat for this first time this season and it gave the chasing pack a respite as Ardija were pulling away. 

The question of this Ardija team now is, how will they react to a defeat, will it see them self-destruct or is it just a blotch on an otherwise brilliant start to the season? That question will be answered when Ardija face off against Shonan Bellmare, Bellmare won a thrilling game 3-2 against FC Tokyo and will be hoping that Ardija’s one match wobble becomes a two match losing streak.

Second place Yokohama F Marinos will have been delighted with last weekend’s outcome as they recorded their first win in four games. They face Ardija’s conquerors Vegalta Sendai this coming match day; a Sendai victory would boost their AFC Champions League hopes considerably. Third faced fourth last week, as Kashima Antlers failed to capitalise on Ardija’s defeat going down 3-1 to third place Urawa Reds, they themselves will be delighted to have gained three points. With a game still in hand Urawa can close the gap to three points on Ardija. Both now have home games, as Antlers play in one of the early kickoffs against Nagoya Grampus, whilst Urawa play in the late kickoff against relegation threatened Sagan Tosu.  

At the bottom Oita Trinita failed to break out of their current funk, losing to champions Sanfreece Hiroshima. As is becoming a recurring theme the future looks incredibly bleak for the Oita outfit. Like Trinita, Jubilo Iwata’s win three games ago is now a distant memory, losing this week to Kashiwa Reysol. 

It seems that the bottom two have a huge task ahead to ensure J1 football for another season. Nagoya and Kawasaki Frontale will be looking over their shoulder as they flirt with the relegation zone of current. Frontale face Jubilo, hoping to continue their relatively decent form, no lose in three now. A 2-2 draw last time out against Champions League chasing Cerezo Osaka can be considered a good result. Cerezo will hope to get back on the winning trail when they face Reysol this weekend.

Venforet Kofu, lost last weekend but shouldn’t be too down hearted as they sit five points clear of the relegation zone. They had been through a purple patch of late, and will hope to get back to that when they face Champions Sanfreece, a daunting task indeed. In the final game of the day Tokyo host Shimizu S-Pulse, with the S-Pa looking to continue where they left off last week, after victory over Ventforet.

In other news:

Well done to Reysol who won in their first leg tie in the AFC Champions League, where they are Japan’s sole representative, by winning away from home in Korea 2-0 over Jeonbuk Motors. The return leg is scheduled for May 22.


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