J.League Review: Gamba take title as rivals lose
Going into the final weekend Gamba, Urawa Reds and Kashima Antlers could have all claimed the title, but Gamba's goalless draw with relegated Tokushima Vortis was enough to finish top as their rivals both lost.
Having won promotion to the top flight last season, Gamba made a stuttering start to the campaign with only four wins before the mid-season break, however they have risen to the top since it restarted in July with 15 wins along the way and also won the League Cup last month.
They were unable to find a way through against Tokushima, but in the end the point was enough to see them complete the second part of a potential treble, with the Emperor Cup final against Montedio Yamagata next weekend the final piece of the jigsaw.
Urawa looked to be on course for the championship when Yomoaki Makino gave them the lead after two minutes against Nagoya Grampus, but two goals in the final 18 minutes saw them lose 2-1 and miss out on the title.
Yusuke Muta levelled for Grampus, before Kensuke Nagai struck a winner in the 89th minute to add insult to injury for a Reds side that could have won the title two weeks ago but lost to Gamba at home.
Kashima were always fighting a battle against Sagan Tosu after Yoshiki Takahashi opened the scoring six minutes in and the hosts were unable to find a way back in as they slipped to a 1-0 defeat, meaning they just held onto third, and an AFC Champions League spot.
At the bottom Tokushima and Cerezo Osaka had already been relegated, but the final place was yet to be decided with Omiya Ardija and Shimizu S-Pulse battling it out to survive.
Omiya did their best to climb out of the bottom three with a 2-0 win over Cerezo, however Shimizu's 0-0 draw with Ventforet Kofu meant they preserved their top flight status by one point.
Elsewhere, Kawasaki Frontale beat 10-man Vissel Kobe 2-1 and Sanfrecce Hiroshima recorded a 2-0 victory over Vegalta Sendai thanks to a Yojiro Takahagi double.
Sho Ito rescued a 1-1 draw for Yokohama F Marinos against 10-man Tokyo, while the final game of the season will need to be rescheduled after Albirez Niigata's clash with Kashiwa Reysol was postponed due to heavy snow.