Hiroshima beats Yamagata 3-1 to take J-League lead

TOKYO (AP) Brazilian Douglas and Takuma Asano scored second-half goals as Sanfrecce Hiroshima beat Montedio Yamagata 3-1 on Saturday to move into first place in the J-League second stage standings.

Diego put Yamagata ahead in the 35th minute but Mihael Mikic equalized just four minutes later.

Douglas scored his 15th goal midway through the second half and Asano sealed the win with 12 minutes left in regulation.

Hiroshima improved to 24 points, two ahead of Kashima Antlers who lost 2-1 to Gamba Osaka. Japan striker Takashi Usami scored both goals for Gamba, which is in fifth place.

In other matches, Kawasaki Frontale beat Ventforet Kofu 3-1 while Vegalta Sendai edged Nagoya Grampus 1-0.

Ryoichi Maeda scored a hat trick as FC Tokyo beat Vissel Kobe 3-0.

Shonan Bellmare and Matsumoto Yamaga finished 1-1 as did Albriex Niigata and Yokohama F Marinos.

Sagan Tosu and Shimizu S-Pulse ended in a goalless draw.

On Friday, Urawa Reds beat Kashiwa Reysol 1-0. Kashiwa is in third place on 19 points, one ahead of FC Tokyo.

Reds won the first-stage title in June to book a spot in the championship playoffs starting late November.

The winners of each stage and top three clubs of the aggregate table will qualify for the championship.