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Urawa Reds stand on the verge of lifting their first J-League title after yesterday’s matches on the Labor Day national holiday. After their disappointing loss away to Grampus at the weekend, the Saitama giants beat 10-man Ventforet Kofu in front of 57,781 fans at Saitama Stadium – this year’s largest J-League attendance.
Gamba Osaka stumbled to a 1-1 draw away to Avispa Fukuoka, which means Urawa can lift the title with a win away to FC Tokyo on Sunday.
In the match in Saitama, Brazilian striker Washington missed toto sgp two first half penalties but netted a second half brace to settle Reds’ nerves. Kofu had defender Michitaka Akimoto sent off after 30 minutes, a decision that swung the match massively in Reds’ favor.
Kawasaki Frontale dropped out of contention with a 4-3 loss away to Shimizu. At the bottom Avispa and Cerezo both drew and will battle it out for the play-off spot with the third-placed J2 team. Kyoto Purple Sanga return straight back down to the second tier after a 3-1 loss in front of their own supporters in the ancient capital.
The J-League title race is not all over yet and FC Tokyo will not want to lose again in front of their fans after yesterday’s loss to Marinos. The last game of the season sees Saitama host Gamba and that match might still decide which side takes the prize.
It’s equally tight at the top of J2 with Yokohama FC, Vissel Kobe and Kawasaki Reysol all in contention for the top two automatic promotion slots.