Naoki Sugai scored the only goal as Vegalta Sendai pulled defending champions Nagoya Grampus down from the top of the table with a 1-0 win in Japan's J-League on Saturday.
The midfielder hit back a rebound after a corner in the 17th minute -- and from then on, Sendai's tight defence kept Nagoya attacks at bay.
"I'm very happy to have a win in 10 games. That's all I can say. Nagoya have some tall players, but we managed to defend against them," said Sugai.
"We had a stronger will to win. That resulted in today's victory. We haven't given up yet. We are going to fight for moving up in the standings," he added.
Brazilian striker Rafinha scored a hat-trick -- bringing him to seven goals in six games since he joined at the end of last month -- to lead Gamba Osaka to a 6-3 win over Kawasaki Frontale.
In other games, Ryuji Bando also scored a hat-trick, but his side, Cerezo Osaka, were held to a 3-3 draw by Shimizu S-Pulse as former Japan international striker Naohiro Takahara equalised with one minute left on the clock.
Source: AFP Global Edition