KAWASAKI, Japan — Brazilian forward Caio shone as Kashima Antlers picked up its sixth straight win to remain top of the J-League second stage table, beating Kawasaki Frontale 3-1 Saturday.
The 21-year-old Caio - who went to a Japanese high school and was voted J-League Young Player of the Year in 2014 - struck a crisp opener from just outside the penalty area in the 51st minute. Mu Kanazaki added a second for the visitors seven minutes later.
Elsinho pulled one back for Kawasaki in the 84th but it wasn't enough to prevent Masatada Ishii's side improving to 22 points, with Shuhei Akasaki adding a third in the 93rd.
Sanfrecce Hiroshima remains one point behind Kashima after beating Nagoya Grampus 5-2. Douglas scored a hat trick for the 2012 and 2013 champion, while Hisato Sato also struck to move to within one goal of Masashi Nakayama's J-League all-time record of 157.
Vissel Kobe was the biggest winner of the day, hammering Sagan Tosu 7-1. Tosu opened through Yohei Toyoda in the 26th minute, but braces for Kazuma Watanabe and Leandro, plus goals for Takuya Iwanami, Daisuke Ishizu, and Ryota Morioka, sealed Kobe's triumph.
Meanwhile, first stage champion Urawa Reds was roundly defeated 4-0 by Yokohama F Marinos, with former Celtic star Shunsuke Nakamura striking the pick of the bunch with a trademark free kick from 25 yards.
Elsewhere, Albirex Niigata beat Vegalta Sendai 1-0 thanks to a 94th-minute winner from Kosuke Yamamoto, while Shimizu S-Pulse drew with FC Tokyo 1-1.