Yokohama F.Marinos wins 1st title in 3 seasons

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The Yokohama F. Marinos celebrate after clinching the J.League title at Noevir Stadium Kobe on Saturday.

KOBE — Yokohama F. Marinos clinched their first J.League first-division title in three seasons and fifth overall with a 3-1 victory over Vissel Kobe at Noevir Stadium Kobe on Saturday, ending Kawasaki Frontale’s two-year reign at the top of Japanese soccer.

Second-half goals by Takuma Nishimura and Teruhito Nakagawa secured the victory for Kevin Muscat’s side, which simplified a complicated string of scenarios also involving second-place Frontale.

Wins by the two leaders gave Marinos the title with 68 points, two ahead of Frontale. Kawasaki closed the season with a 3-2 victory over FC Tokyo.

Meanwhile, Shimizu S-Pulse came up short in a bid to avoid demotion to J2 when the side was defeated 4-3 by Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo to finish in 17th place in the 18-team J1.

The bottom two teams are automatically relegated to J2, and Shimizu will be joining last-place Jubilo Iwata in making the drop and assuring that no Shizuoka Prefecture teams will be playing in J1 next season.

Kyoto Sanga F.C. ended the season with a scoreless draw against Jubilo that left the club in 16th place and facing a promotion/relegation playoff with a J2 team to be determined.