Hiroshima extend J-League lead
Japan international striker Hisato Sato scored a goal and assisted another to lead Sanfrecce Hiroshima to a 2-0 win over Albirex Niigata on Saturday, extending their J-League lead to four points.
After opening the scoring in the 26th minute, Sato set up Naoki Ishihara's goal from close range in the 55th minute to leave their opponents little chance of coming back.
Hiroshima have now 43 points from 13 wins, four draws and five defeats, ahead of former leaders Vegalta Sendai on 39 points, who were held to a goalless draw by defending champions Kashiwa Reysol.
Former Asian club champions Urawa Red Diamonds moved up to third place on 38 points by beating seven-time former champions Kashima Antlers 2-1.
They were followed by Kashiwa on 36 points, Yokohama Marinos on 35 points, and Jubilo Iwata, Sagan Tosu and Shimizu S-Pulse on 34 points.
Brazilian striker Marquinhos scored twice for Yokohama in the first half, but Yusuke Tanaka hit back with a brace as Kawasaki Frontale held them to a 2-2 draw.
The J-League's former top goal scorer Ryoichi Maeda scored twice in the last eight minutes as Iwata came back from behind to beat Cerezo Osaka 4-3, while Shimizu edged past Tosu 1-0 thanks to Taisuke Muramatsu's goal.
In other games, Gamba Osaka overwhelmed Nagoya Grampus 5-0, Vissel Kobe downed bottom-placed Consadole Sapporo 4-2, and Omiya Ardija defeated FC Tokyo 1-0.