The Japanese J-League season seems to be all but decided after second-placed Kashima Antlers crashed to a 2-1 defeat at Albirex Niigata on Sunday.
Kashima needed a win in order to restore the original eight-point gap with leaders Nagoya Grampus.
The first half at Tohoku Denryoku Big Swan stadium ended goalless, but Brazilian Marcio Richardes scored the opener in Albirez’ favour after just three minutes in the second.
Toru Araiba leveled on the hour mark but Albirex had the final say as Isao Homma netted the winner in the dying seconds, 2-1.
Kashima are now 11 points behind leaders Nagoya, with just six rounds to go.