YOKOHAMA, Japan — Albirex Niigata won 2-0 at Yokohama on Saturday, preventing the Marinos clinching their first J-League championship since 2004 and ensuring the fight for the title will come down to the last day of the season.
Goals from Kengo Kawamata in the 72nd minute and Musashi Suzuki in stoppage time dashed home fans' hopes of witnessing their team seal a fourth title.
Marinos had their best scoring chance in the 63rd minute when defender Yuji Nakazawa rose to meet Shunsuke Nakamura's corner but headed wide.
Yokohama has 62 points, two ahead of defending champion Sanfrecce Hiroshima which won 1-0 over already-relegated Shonan Bellmare thanks to a 36th-minute strike by Toshihiro Aoyama.
In the final round on Dec. 7, Yokohama is away at Kawasaki Frontale while Hiroshima travels to third-placed Kashima Antlers. Kashima, which beat Cerezo Osaka 2-1, can mathematically win the title as it is three points behind the Marinos, but has a deficit of nine on goal difference.
In other matches, Urawa Reds were eliminated from the title chase after a 4-1 loss to Sagan Tosu, while Omiya Ardija's Yu Hasegawa scored twice in the 3-0 win over relegated Jubio Iwata.