J.League Preview: Yokohama, Urawa set for key battle
Two of the contenders for the J.League title will go head-to-head when Yokohama F. Marinos host Urawa Reds on Wednesday.
Yokohama moved down to second in the table after their 2-1 loss at Kashima Antlers on Saturday - their first defeat in seven games - with Sanfrecce Hiroshima's 1-1 draw with bottom-placed Oita Trinita enough to send them to the summit on goal difference.
Urawa, meanwhile, sit just one point behind the leaders after their 2-0 success at Shimizu S-Pulse and will go into the clash with Yasuhiro Higuchi’s men bouyant having won four of their last five J.League games.
Meanwhile, Kashima and Cerezo Osaka both still have designs on at least securing qualification for the CAF Champions League and will look to stay in touch with the top three in home games against Shimizu and Vegalta Sendai respectively.
At the other end of the table, Jubilo Iwata and Shonan Bellmare are hoping to boost their survival chances at Albriex Niigata and Kashiwa Reysol.
Jubilo will hope to replicate their 2-1 victory in the return fixture in July as they try to build on the draws they have picked up in their two previous games.
Elsewhere, struggling Oita Trinita - who have won just one of their 22 J.League games so far this season - are sure to be confident ahead of their clash with Nagoya Grampus after holding title-chasers Sanfrecce last time out.
Sixth-placed Omiya Ardija - who have lost their last seven top-flight games - were beaten 3-2 at home by Kashiwa on Saturday and will look to bounce back at Kawasaki Frontale, while Tokyo welcome Sagan Tosu to the Japanese capital.