Urawa beats Niigata to keep J-League lead

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 19, 2014 at 9:27 am •  Published: July 19, 2014
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SAITAMA, Japan (AP) — Urawa Reds stayed in first place with a 1-0 win over Albirex Niigata on Saturday as the J-League resumed after a two-month break for the World Cup.

The hosts took advantage of a 16th-minute own goal by Niigata defender Ken Matsubara to improve to 32 points, one ahead of Sagan Tosu, which beat Vissel Kobe 1-0.

Kim Min-woo scored for Sagan and goalkeeper Akihiro Hayashi pulled off a series of excellent saves.

In other matches, Yu Kobayashi and Yoshito Okubo scored as third-placed Kawasaki Frontale beat Shimizu S-Pulse 2-0.

Yuta Toyokawa scored late as Kashima Antlers finished 1-1 with FC Tokyo while Serbian striker Dragan Mrdja scored a brace in his J-League debut to help Omiya Ardija to a 3-3 draw with Sanfrecce Hiroshima.

Kenya Sugimoto's stoppage-time goal gave Cerezo Osaka a 2-2 draw with Yokohama F Marinos while Kashiwa Reysol and Vegalta Sendai finished scoreless.

Elsewhere, Shu Kurata and Takashi Usami scored to lead Gamba Osaka to a 2-0 win over Ventforet Kofu. Hiroyuki Takasaki's first-half goal gave last-placed Tokushima Vortis a 1-1 draw with Nagoya Grampus.