Umbrella sellers are no doubt doing a brisk trade in Yokohama as Kanagawa giants Yokohama F. Marinos lead the way in the J. League standings.
F. Marinos fans are known for their colourful support and it's a common sight to see the Tricolore run out against a backdrop of twirling umbrellas at their cavernous Nissan Stadium home.
The port city giants beat regional rivals Omiya Ardija 2-1 at home last weekend to maintain a two-point lead over Chiba side Kashiwa Reysol, who were held to a scoreless draw away at Vegalta Sendai.
Reysol's clash with Vegalta was their second in the space of four days at Yurtec Stadium, after the two sides met in the League Cup in midweek, with Vegalta prevailing 3-1 on aggregate.
Defending champions Nagoya Grampus are looming as an obvious threat in the league, and they've moved into third place in the table after brushing aside bottom club Avispa Fukuoka 3-0 at Hakatanomori on Sunday.
In other Sunday action, more than 28,000 fans turned out for Cerezo Osaka midfielder Takashi Inui's farewell match against Kashima Antlers at Nagai Stadium, but the home fans left disappointed as Kashima came away with a comprehensive 3-1 win.
Avispa Fukuoka are doomed and the future doesn't look much brighter for Montedio Yamagata, while Ventforet Kofu are still four points off safety despite the recent high-profile summer signings of Kim Jin-Kyu and Davi.
In J2, Tokushima Vortis are the surprise league leaders and they hammered Kataller Toyama 3-1 in their most recent clash at Pocarisweat Stadium. FC Tokyo slumped to a shock 1-0 defeat away at Giravanz Kitakyushu, while fellow big guns JEF United were held to a 1-1 draw by Yokohama FC in front of more than 13,000 fans at Fukuda Denshi Arena in Chiba.
Relegated Kansai side Kyoto Sanga have endured a nightmare season in the second tier, with the club from Japan's former imperial capital lying a dismal 17th place in the standings in the 20-team division.
Copyright © Mike Tuckerman & Soccerphile.com
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