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J.League Preview: Top two go head-to-head
30 Jul, 2013 4:18 PM GMT
J.League leaders Sanfrecce Hiroshima host second-place Omiya Ardija on Wednesday, one game after replacing them at the top of the table.
The two sides are separated by just goal difference at the top of the table at the halfway stage of the season, however in their previous meeting in the league, Omiya ran out 2-1 winners.
Omiya have lost their last two games, allowing Sanfrecce to reel them in and their hopes of regaining top spot will not be boosted by a failure to win in Hiroshima since 2010.
Yokohama F Marinos have also kept themselves in contention with back-to-back victories and now find themselves two points behind the leaders in third place.
They welcome mid-table side Kashiwa Reysol, a side they lost 2-1 to earlier this season.
Urawa Reds know that a victory over third-bottom Jubilo Iwata could help them close the gap on the top three, however no wins in their last three games will give the visitors hope of an unlikely victory.
Having moved into fifth place with a win over Sagan Tosu a fortnight ago, Cerezo Osaka travel to Albirex Niigata, keen to maintain their lead over Kashima Antlers.
Second-bottom Shonan Bellmare travel to Kawasaki Frontale aiming to get out of the bottom three with a victory.
Shonan have only won three of their last 10 matches, but did taste victory in their last away trip to Ventforet Kofu.
Bottom-of-the-table Oita Trinita travel to Sagan Tosu, desperate to record their second victory of the season. The two sides last met in May when Oita triumphed 3-2 in a J.League Cup tie thanks to a Takuya Marutani second half hat-trick.
After two consecutive wins, Nagoya Grampus will be aiming to maintain their form as they welcome sixth-placed Kashima Antlers.
Elsewhere on Wednesday, Ventforet Kofu and Vegalta Sendai meet in a mid-table clash, while Shimizu S-Pulse will be hoping to close the gap on Tokyo in eighth place with a home win.