J.League Wrap: Marinos edge closer to title, Bellmare relegated
By Football News
Yokohama F Marinos moved within one win of securing the J.League title with a 1-0 victory at already-relegated Jubilo Iwata on Saturday.
Yasuhiro Higuchi's men can clinch the the championship next week against Albirex Niigata after edging a close contest against Jubilo thanks to a Yuji Nakazawa goal 21 minutes from time.
Their win, coupled with Urawa Reds' 3-1 defeat at home to Kawasaki Frontale, ensured three points next Saturday will give them the crown with a game to spare.
The Reds' first home defeat in the top flight since losing 3-2 to Yokohama in July came despite Tomaki Makino cancelling out Jeci's 12th-minute opener.
Makino then put past his own goalkeeper, though, before Yoshito Okubo wrapped up the win for the visitors.
Defending champions Sanfrecce Hiroshima's 1-0 defeat at Cerezo Osaka also means the fight for the final two AFC Champions League places remains alive going into the final two matches of the campaign.
Five teams are capable of challenging for second and third spot, although Kashima Antlers missed out on boosting their chances of qualification by going down 2-1 at home to Sagan Tosu.
At the other end of the table, Shonan Bellmare's slim chances of avoiding the drop were ended by a late Tokyo turnaround in the capital, after Kaoru Takayama had given the visitors the lead.
Shonan would have needed to win their remaining games, hope for Ventforet Kofu to lose all theirs and aim for a major swing in goal difference to avoid relegation, but they will now prepare for life in the J2 League thanks to goals in the last 22 minutes from Jang Hyun-Soo and Nemanja Vucicevic.
Bellmare's defeat meant Ventforet's point against bottom side Oita Trinita was not essential, altohugh Hiroshi Jofuku's side will now be confident of overtaking out of sorts Omiya Ardija - who lost their eighth J-League game in a row, going down 1-0 against Shimizu S-Pulse.
Elsewhere, a 90th-minute winner from Daniel secured Nagoya Grampus the points in a 3-2 epic against Kashiwa Reysol, while Albirex proved they will be no pushovers against Yokohama next week - beating Vegalata Sendai 1-0 to record their fourth win in five league matches.