For the third season in a row, the J-League title race will be decided on the final day of the season.
That’s because Urawa Reds lost 1-0 to second-placed Kashima Antlers in front of 62,123 fans at Saitama Stadium on November 24, thanks to midfielder Takuya Nozawa’s solitary strike.
Kashima had defender Toru Araiba controversially sent off for a second bookable offence after just forty-two minutes, and referee Kenji Ogiya again grabbed the headlines when he sent off Kashima substitute Yuji Funayama for “spitting” with just seconds remaining. Urawa fans claimed that Funayama had spat in their direction, but television replays suggest that Funayama simply spat on the ground before attempting to take a throw-in.
The shock loss leaves Urawa one point ahead of Kashima in the J-League standings going into the final day of the season.
In Round 34 action, Urawa travel to Nissan Stadium where they will take on rock bottom Yokohama FC. Tens of thousands of Urawa fans are expected to make the trip to the port city for what will practically be a “home” fixture for the visiting side.
Kashima Antlers will host Shimizu S-Pulse at a packed Kashima …