It would seem the loss to Vegalta Sendai was only a blip on the near perfect record of J1 league leaders Omiya Ardija.

After a 2-1 defeat to Vegalta, and the end of their unbeaten record, the Squirrels made an instantly bounced back with a victory over Shonan Bellmare by the same score line. If nothing else this season Vegalta can at least say they have had an impact on where the J1 title ends up. Following their victory over the leaders, they faced second placed Yokohama F Marinos and came away with a 0-0 draw. 

They have now taken four points from a possible six over the top two. Marinos will have been disappointed to have allowed Omiya to have extended their lead after only recently pegging them back. In week 13, Omiya and Marinos face Venforet Kofu and Sagan Tosu respectively. 

To the two highest scoring games of the week, starting at Sanfreece Hiroshima; in what was a Champions vs Champions match, Sanfreece recorded their biggest win of this campaign with a crushing 5-1 victory over Ventforet Kofu. A hat trick from Captain Hisato Sato set Sanfreece on their way to the win. 

Sato now happily sits top of the leading goal-scorers charts, a place he is becoming ever familiar with. In the other high scoring game, Urawa Red’s triumphed 6-2 over Sagan Tosu, meaning the Reds’ are now just one point off of second position. Sanfreece still sit nine points off of top spot and face Bellmare this coming weekend, whilst Urawa Reds play on Sunday against Kashiwa Reysol; this is due to Reysol’s AFC Champions League exploits, which you can catch up on at the bottom of this article.

Kashima Antlers returned to winning ways after their recent loss to Urawa Reds, a 3-1 score line was enough for Antlers to keep in touch with the top three, and their dream of returning to the AFC Champions League. A home game against a good FC Tokyo side beckons. As for Tokyo they defeated Shimizu S-Pulse 2-0, as S-Pa sit firmly in mid-table. 

The bottom of the table remains largely the same in a positional sense; however, Oita Trinita could celebrate this past weekend, finally recording their first win this season. It brings them level on points with Jubilo Iwata with a meagre six. This could be the kick start Oita needed, and the timing couldn’t be better as they now host Jubilo, in the battle of the basement clash. 

Jubilo fell 4-2 to Kawasaki Frontale, last weekend and as of recent Frontale have been looking ever more impressive. With three wins in their last five, they are making a serious push for continental competition.

Nagoya Grampus’ slip down the table has gained some momentum, a fourth defeat in a row, which looks unlikely to change this week against Cerezo Osaka. At one point Nagoya was top six and now they are sitting delicately above the relegation positions. Four days before they were due to play their second leg of the AFC Champions League tie against Jeonbuk Motors, Kashiwa Reysol were beaten 3-1 by an ever improving Cerezo side. In all fairness to Reysol they were probably more interested in the upcoming Champions League match, of which they won 3-2, meaning a 5-2 aggregate victory, sending them through to the quarter-finals. 

In what should be a very interesting week for the J1, it should give us a clearer idea of who is more likely to escape relegation, as Oita and Jubilo do battle. Omiya will be hoping for another win to maintain their five point lead. Whilst Sato will hope the goals keep flowing as Yoichiro Kakitani, Masato Kudo, Yohei Toyoda and Kazuma Wantanbe all sit one goal behind him on eight each.


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