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Soccer-Marinos slip again as champions Frontale edge closer in J1 title race

(Reuters) – Struggling Jubilo Iwata handed J1 League leaders Yokohama F Marinos a 1-0 defeat on Wednesday to give defending champions Kawasaki Frontale a lifeline in their pursuit of a third title in a row and their fifth crown in six seasons.

Yosuke Furukawa’s deflected strike six minutes from time meant Marinos slipped to a second successive loss, with Kawasaki closing to within two points of the 2019 champions with two games remaining after their 3-1 win over Kyoto Sanga.

Kevin Muscat’s side, who also lost against Gamba Osaka on Saturday, went into the clash with last-placed Jubilo knowing they could clinch the title with victory and a loss for Kawasaki.

But Furukawa’s strike came after Marinos had been unable to turn their dominance into goals and Jubilo scored on a rare break forward.

Kawasaki had few issues against Kyoto, with Japan defender Shogo Taniguchi heading in the opener in the ninth minute before further goals from Kento Tachibanada and Marcinho made the points safe.

Yokohama remain on 62 points having played 32 games while Kawasaki are now only two points behind.

With the Emperor’s Cup final to be played on Saturday, Marinos’ next game will be played on Oct. 29, when they host Asian Champions League finalists Urawa Red Diamonds.

Their final game of the season is on Nov. 5 against Vissel Kobe.

Kawasaki take on Kobe on Oct. 29 before facing FC Tokyo on the last day of the season.

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