TOKYO - Kashima Antlers retained their J-League title on Saturday after a 1-0 win at relegated Consadole Sapporo on the final day of the season. Midfielder Takuya Nozawa struck 10 minutes before halftime as Japan's most successful side finished three points clear of Kawasaki Frontale, 2-0 winners at Tokyo Verdy. Antlers, who have now won the J-League a record six times since its launch in 1993, finished with 63 points from 34 matches and are the first side to twice win back-to-back titles. Yokohama F-Marinos and Jubilo Iwata have each won three championships, the next best haul after Kashima. Frontale's victory, meanwhile, sent Verdy down to the J-League's second division along with hapless Sapporo, who finished 19 points adrift at the foot of the table. Jubilo Iwata, once the top team in Japan and Asia, were beaten 1-0 at home by Omiya Ardija and will have to beat second division side Vegalta Sendai in a play-off to avoid the drop.
6 December 2008
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