J.League wrap: No stopping Kashiwa, Avispa falter again

Kashiwa Reysol’s shock start to life back in the J.League continued, contrasting the ongoing woes of fellow promoted club Avispa Fukuoka.Champions of J.League 2 in 2010, Kashiwa shocked the top-flight by winning their first three games, including a 3-0 win against heavyweights Shimizu S-Pulse on the opening day of the new campaign.

Little has slowed Reysol since, with Yokohama F. Marinos becoming the latest side to fall under their sword with a 2-0 loss at home.

Kashiwa’s win was set up in 11 first-half minutes, with Junya Tanaka’s 26th-minute opener followed quickly by a goal to experienced forward Hideaki Kitajima.

It was the fourth goal of the season for both players.

The three points keeps Kashiwa clear at the top of the J.League table, while Yokohama’s positive start – with 11 points from their first five games – is beginning to fade from memory.

Nagoya Grampus showed they are beginning to put an unconvincing start to their title defence behind them with a 1-0 win at Jubilo Iwata.

But the visitors had to wait until the 89th minute for veteran Japan striker Keiji Tamada to score the winner, ensuring Nagoya has successive victories for the first time this campaign.

Cerezo Osaka – the sole Japanese club still alive in the AFC Champions League quarter-finals, which begin in September – picked up their own away win with a 3-0 result at Avispa Fukuoka, with the goals coming from on-loan Vasco da Gama attacker Rodrigo Pampao and midfielders Shu Kurata and Hiroshi Kiyotake.

Promoted after finishing third in J.League 2 last season, Avispa have found life in the top flight far more difficult than Kashiwa.

The loss means winless Avispa are yet to earn a point in nine league games this season and have conceded 25 goals in a miserable run for the club.

Continuing a good matchday for the away clubs, Sanfrecce Hiroshima won 1-0 at Albirex Niigata and Kashima Antlers were 2-0 victors in their travels to second-from-bottom Montedio Yamagata.

Kawasaki Frontale was held to a 2-2 draw at home to Ventforet Kofu, while Vissel Kobe needed an 89th-minute equaliser to claim a share of the spoils against visitors Vegalta Sendai.

In the day’s later games, Gamba Osaka was held 2-2 at home by Shimizu S-Pulse and Omiya Ardija coughed up a 2-0 lead to finish their meeting with Urawa Reds with the same scoreline.