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J-League Preview: Kofu look to escape drop zone

Hiroshi Jofuku's men slipped into the bottom three following a 2-0 loss at Gamba Osaka when they resumed their league campaign after a mid-season break on Saturday.

Ventforet have won just once in six top-flight matches but Cerezo travel to the Yamanashi Chuo Bank Stadium going through a rough patch of their own.

Kenyu Sugimoto's last-gasp goal rescued a 2-2 draw with Yokohama F Marinos on Saturday and that point snapped a three-match losing league run.

A loss for the visitors could even see them fall into the drop zone if Nagoya Grampus can win on their trip to Vegalta Sendai.

At the top of the table, leaders Urawa Reds extended their unbeaten J-League run to six matches by beating Albirex Niigata 1-0 on Saturday and, with a trip to rock-bottom Tokushima Vortis, on the horizon Mihailo Petrovic's men will be confident of making that seven.

Urawa's advantage at the top is just one point, but that could change when second plays third at the Best Amenity Stadium as Sagan Tosu welcome Kawasaki Frontale.

The two sides are in good form ahead of the contest with Sagan having not lost their past five league matches, while Kawasaki have lost just once in seven top-flight outings.

Omiya Ardija sit 17th in a compact bottom of the table and face a difficult trip to AFC Champions League hopefuls Kashima Antlers.

The away side will travel to Kashima Soccer Stadium in buoyant mood, however, having overturned a three-goal deficit to draw 3-3 with reigning champions Sanfrecce Hiroshima on Saturday.

Gamba Osaka and Shimizu S-Pulse will both look to put distance between themselves and the bottom three when the pair square off.

In other matches, Sanfrecce - who are winless in five in the league - will attempt to break their poor run at home to Kashiwa Reysol, while Albirex Niigata and Yokohama F Marinos host Tokyo and Vissel Kobe respectively.

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