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As we move into Round 5 of the J.League, can reining champions Sanfrecce pick up where they left off and continue their winning ways?

Vegalta Sendai vs Albirex Niigata – Yurtec Stadium


Sendai brought an end to Cerezo Osaka’s 100 per cent start to the season last weekend when they picked up a 1-1 draw in Osaka. 2013 hasn’t been kind to Albirex so far though, and they are currently propping up J1 with just one point from their first four games. Will they be able to claim a vital three points this weekend?

 

FC Tokyo vs Omiya Ardija – Ajinomoto Stadium


They took them right to the wire but FC Tokyo couldn’t end Yokohama F.Marinos’ perfect start to 2013 last week, losing 3-2 to a last minute winner. Omiya haven’t tasted defeat in the league since August last year and picked up a fantastic 3-1 win over Kashima Antlers last time out.

Key to that win was the performance of young centre-back Shoehei Takahashi, who as well as marshaling the threat of goal-poacher Davi also provided a fantastic assist for Omiya’s second goal. To see if he can perform as impressively this week check your local TV schedules as this game is being broadcast live around the world!

 

Sanfrecce Hiroshima vs Yokohama F. Marinos – Edion Stadium


Reigning champions Sanfrecce are slowly finding form after an inconsistent start and last week annihilated Shimizu S-Pulse 4-0. Marinos are the form team in J1 right now though and sit top with four wins from four. Last week they overcame FC Tokyo 3-2. Will Sanfrecce be able to halt the pretenders to their throne, or can Marinos further stake their claim as realistic title contenders?

Sagan Tosu vs Shimizu S-Pulse – Best Amenity Stadium


Tosu have won just once in J1 this season but have still not tasted defeat, and last week they played out a thrilling 3-3 with Jubilo Iwata. S-Pulse, on the other hand, are in woeful form and sit second bottom on just two points, having lost 4-0 at home to Sanfrecce Hiroshima in Round 4. Can they upset the odds in Kyushu on Saturday?

Oita Trinita vs Ventforet Kofu – Oita Bank Dome


Trinita’s search for their maiden win of the season continues after they fell to a 3-1 loss to Kashiwa Reysol last weekend. Fellow promotees Ventforet have also failed to take all three points from any of their games so far this season, and last time out they drew 1-1 with Kawasaki Frontale. Will either side be able to get their season up and running with a victory this time out?

 

Kashima Antlers vs Cerezo Osaka – Kashima Soccer Stadium


Antlers fell to their first league defeat of the season in Round 4 when they surrendered the lead to lose 3-1 away to Omiya Ardija. Cerezo have made a much stronger start to the season and although they couldn’t maintain their 100 per cent record last week their 1-1 draw with Vegalta Sendai means they remain unbeaten. Can Antlers end that run here?

 

Kashiwa Reysol vs Nagoya Grampus – Hitachi Dai Stadium


Reysol halted their losing run in the league at two matches when they eased past Oita Trinita 3-1 last weekend. Grampus also took all three points from their game against recently promoted opposition, downing Shonan Bellmare 2-0.

Reysol halted their losing run in the league at two matches when they eased past Oita Trinita 3-1 last weekend. Grampus also took all three points from their game against recently promoted opposition, downing Shonan Bellmare 2-0.

Shonan Bellmare vs Kawasaki Frontale – BMW Stadium


Bellmare suffered a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Nagoya Grampus last weekend, leaving them in the bottom three with just two points from their first four J1 matches. Kawasaki have the same return and are likewise winless. In Round 4 they drew 1-1 with Ventforet Kofu. Will either side have enough to claim all three points from this encounter?

 

Urawa Reds vs Jubilo Iwata – Saitama Stadium


Reds are one of just five teams to remain unbeaten so far in J1, and they continued their impressive start to the season last week by beating Albirex Niigata 2-0. Iwata, meanwhile, are yet to win in the league, and last week had to come from behind to earn a 3-3 draw with Sagan Tosu.

Reds first goal last week was powerfully headed home by the Tomoaki Makino, and the defender is as adept at attacking the opposing penalty area as he is protecting his own. To see his all-action style for yourself check your local TV guides as this week’s game is being broadcast live around the world!

 

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