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After last weekend failed to produce a single draw, five of Saturday's nine matches ended deadlocked as finishing touches appeared to be in short supply across the league

ANALYSIS
By Dan Orlowitz

Results

Consadole Sapporo 0-4 Gamba Osaka, FC Tokyo 2-0 Cerezo Osaka, Shimizu S-Pulse 1-1 Sagan Tosu, Kashiwa Reysol 1-1 Kashima Antlers, Sanfrecce Hiroshima 0-0 Omiya Ardija, Kawasaki Frontale 0-0 Yokohama F. Marinos, Nagoya Grampus 2-0 Jubilo Iwata, Vissel Kobe 1-0 Albirex Niigata

THE WEEKEND STORIES

The J-League's top four teams all played out scoreless draws on Saturday night, allowing FC Tokyo to move toward the top of the table with a game in hand. The capital city club recovered from their poor showing last week in a 2-0 win against Cerezo Osaka through goals by Aria Jasuru Hasegawa and Lucas. The visitors brought plenty of attacking flair but failed to beat goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda.

The anticipated encounter between first and third-placed Vegalta Sendai and Urawa Reds ended scoreless, as did the Kanagawa Derby between Kawasaki Frontale and Yokohama F. Marinos that saw Shunsuke Nakamura replaced with an injury in the first half.

Incoming Hannover defender Hiroki Sakai failed to mark his last match in Kashiwa Stadium with a win, as his team drew 1-1 with Kashima Antlers. Elsewhere, Shimizu S-Pulse took an early lead against Sagan Tosu when Genki Omae converted from the spot, but the plucky Kyushu club drew even in the second half through Kei Ikeda's finish.

But fans looking for goals did best at the bottom of the table, where visiting Gamba Osaka stomped last-place Consadole Sapporo 4-0 in front of a disappointed crowd at the Sapporo Dome. The result left manager Nobuhiro Ishizaki with just one win from 15 fixtures, and Gamba supporters with hope that their storied club could escape the drop zone.

THE STANDINGS | Top Four

  P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Vegalta Sendai 15 9 4 2 31 13 +18 31
2 S. Hiroshima 15 9 2 4 30 16 +14 29
3 Urawa Reds 15 7 5 3 19 14 +5 26
4 K. Frontale 15 8 2 5 22 21 +1 26

PLAYER OF THE WEEKEND

Shuichi Gonda

FC Tokyo

Japan's Under-23 goalkeeper had a memorable night, blocking two one-on-one opportunities and making several other fine saves. Had Gonda allowed Cerezo to score in one of their first-half counters, the match could have ended very differently for the hosts who close in on the top four in J-League.
QUOTES OF THE WEEKEND

"I've only got two matches left [before I go to Nurnberg], so I want to give Cerezo everything I have left."
-Cerezo attacker Hiroshi Kiyotake after his team's 2-0 loss at FC Tokyo

"It's not enough that we get out of the tight spots in a match; we have to avoid getting into them from the beginning."
-Gamba Osaka defender Yasuyuki Konno following a 4-0 win at Consadole

"We didn't expect Urawa Reds to park the bus at their home stadium."
-Vegalta Sendai manager Makoto Teguramori after his team's scoreless draw with third-place Reds

ODDS AND ENDS

Genki Omae's penalty kick for S-Pulse was the team's 999th J1 goal. The goal was S-Pulse's first in four league fixtures, but their winless streak extended to five after the match ended in a draw.

Consadole Sapporo's loss marked the second six-game losing streak they've suffered this season. They are the only J1 team with less than ten points in the standings.

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