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The weekend of dramatic results was punctuated by farewells as several players put in their final J-League appearance before departing for their new overseas clubs

By Dan Orlowitz


Yokohama F. Marinos 1-1 Nagoya Grampus, Vegalta Sendai 2-2 Sanfrecce Hiroshima, Omiya Ardija 1-0 Shimizu S-Pulse, Kawasaki Frontale 0-1 Vissel Kobe, Albirex Niigata 1-1 Kashima Antlers, Jubilo Iwata 3-1 FC Tokyo, Gamba Osaka 2-6 Kashiwa Reysol, Cerezo Osaka 1-1 Urawa Reds, Sagan Tosu 1-0 Consadole Sapporo


This weekend's battle at the top of the table provided more entertainment than last weekend's, as Vegalta Sendai and Sanfrecce Hiroshima fought out an entertaining 2-2 draw at Sendai Stadium. Wilson's double for the hosts was enough to overcome Hisato Sato's league-leading 12th goal of the season as well as Koji Morisaki's strike.

Below Sanfrecce, Jubilo Iwata jumped up to third place after dismantling FC Tokyo 3-1 at Yamaha Stadium. The loss is the third in four matches since the international break for the capital city club, who dropped to eighth.

At Osaka's Banpaku Stadium, Gamba disappointed supporters with a humiliating 6-2 loss to visiting Kashiwa Reysol. The win for the reigning champions was an exciting send-off for right-back Hiroki Sakai, who will fly to Germany this week to finalise his new contract with Hannover.

Across the city another send-off took place at Nagai Stadium, as Cerezo battled to a 1-1 draw with Urawa Reds in the final match for midfielder Hiroshi Kiyotake. Cerezo's No. 8 was seen off by a host of club luminaries, including Manchester United transfer Shinji Kagawa.


  P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Vegalta Sendai 16 9 5 2 33 15 +18 32
2 S. Hiroshima 16 9 3 4 32 18 +14 30
3 Jubilo Iwata 16 8 3 5 34 23 +11 27
4 Kashiwa Reysol 16 8 3 5 31 24 +7 27


Masakatsu Sawa

Kashiwa Reysol

The Peruvian Premiera Division's Most Valuable Foreign Player of 2007 tore apart the Gamba defence with three goals on the way to his team's six-goal tally. The injury-plagued Sawa has mostly been used as a substitute this season, but his performance this weekend could potentially inspire manager Nelsinho to offer more chances in the starting lineup.

"It was difficult for me to leave Oita, but I grew as a person and a player at Cerezo and have no regrets about my time here."
-Cerezo Osaka's Hiroshi Kiyotake following his final match before departing for Nurnberg

"We haven't lost since my transfer [to Hannover] was decided, and that's absolutely thanks to my team-mates."
-Kashiwa Reysol defender Hiroki Sakai after his last J-League match

"We'll fix the problems we have through our players."
-Gamba Osaka president Kikuo Kanamori denying a managerial change after the team's embarrassing 6-2 loss to Reysol


Consadole Sapporo's 1-0 loss to Sagan Tosu was the 100th J1 match for manager Nobuhiro Ishizaki.

Four goals were scored in stoppage time this round; three affected the match result including two game-winners.

Gamba conceded more than five goals at home for the first time since 1996 and just the third time in the club's history.

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