Kashima Antlers beat Gamba Osaka 2-0 on Sunday to stay two points clear at the top of the J-League table as Diego Forlan’s Cerezo Osaka suffered their second defeat of the season.
Goals in either half for Brazilians Davi and Caio were enough to keep Antlers on top after six games of the new campaign, with defending champions Sanfrecce Hiroshima second after coming from behind to beat Nagoya Grampus 5-2.
“We didn’t give them any space to play in,” said Antlers manager Toninho Cerezo.
“This was more than just a win, it was a win for our tactics.”
Cerezo fell five points off the pace after losing 2-1 away to Kashiwa Reysol.
Forlan was unable to add to his one league goal since joining from Brazilian side Internacional in January, as Junya Tanaka and Leandro put Reysol in control before Yusuke Maruhashi pulled back a late consolation for Cerezo.
“It’s a good team with good young players but we need to keep going and win games,” said the 34-year-old Forlan.
“We drew the last game and now we lost, and we need to start winning games.”
Vissel Kobe moved up to third after beating Omiya Ardija 3-0, while Kawasaki Frontale went fourth on goal difference after routing Tokushima Vortis to leave the promoted side with no points six games into their debut top-flight campaign.
Urawa Red Diamonds beat Vegalta Sendai 4-0 in their first home league game since playing one match behind closed doors as punishment for a racist banner hoisted by fans.
Early leaders Yokohama F Marinos slipped further down the table after drawing 0-0 with Albirex Niigata, FC Tokyo beat Sagan Tosu 2-1, and Shimizu S-Pulse beat Ventforet Kofu 1-0.