Updated: 05/17/2014 22:11 | By Agence France-Presse

Urawa top J-League ahead of World Cup break

Urawa Red Diamonds ensured they would head into the J-League's World Cup shutdown in first place after reclaiming top spot with a 1-0 win over Cerezo Osaka on Saturday. 


Urawa top J-League ahead of World Cup break

Urawa Reds midfielder Yuki Abe gets the better of Arsenal's Theo Walcott in a friendly in Saitama, Tokyo, on July 26, 2013 - by Toru Yamanaka

Teenage substitute Takahiro Sekine scored in the 77th minute to seal Urawa's win over struggling Cerezo, for whom Diego Forlan played his final game before linking up with Uruguay's 25-man provisional World Cup squad. 

Urawa will restart the season in mid-July one point clear at the top of the table after previous leaders Sagan Tosu slipped into second following a 1-1 draw with Omiya Ardija.

"It's good that we've been able to rack up the points going into the break," said Urawa captain Yuki Abe. 

"But we've only played 14 games so far, and whether we can keep on picking up points from here is what's important." 

Cerezo head into the break in 11th place despite the marquee signing of former Manchester United and Atletico Madrid star Forlan, who left Urawa's stadium without talking to reporters after failing to make an impact. 

"We were able to isolate Forlan on his own without any support up front," said Urawa manager Mihailo Petrovic. 

"When the ball came to him we marked him hard, cut down his options and neutralised their attack." 

Vissel Kobe drew 1-1 with Shimizu S-Pulse to remain in third place, four points behind Sagan, while Kashima Antlers moved level on points with Vissel after a 1-0 win over Toksuhima Vortis. 

Elsewhere in the J-League, Kashiwa Reysol crashed 3-0 away to lowly Ventforet Kofu, FC Tokyo scored two goals in the opening three minutes in a 3-0 win over Gamba Osaka, and Albirex Niigata and Nagoya Grampus drew 1-1. 

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