Kei Ikeda snatched the winner seven minutes from time for the Kyushu-based side, who went top on goal difference with 37 points after 18 games.

Reds, Japanese champions in 2006, were indebted to a dramatic late equaliser by Daisuke Nasu as they were held 2-2 by visiting Vissel Kobe.

Kawasaki Frontale dropped four points off the pace after a surprise 4-1 defeat at Kashiwa Reysol, Kaoru Takayama netting twice for the home side.

Fifth-placed Kashima Antlers went one better, battering champions Sanfrecce Hiroshima 5-1.

Gamba Osaka climbed to sixth above Hiroshima on goal difference with 27 points after a 2-0 home victory over Yokohama F-Marinos.

Elsewhere, a Yoshinori Muto double helped FC Tokyo thrash Shimizu S-Pulse 4-0 at home.

Bottom club Tokushima Vortis battled to a 2-2 draw against visiting Ventforet Kofu, while Omiya Ardija drew 2-2 away to Vegalta Sendai and Albirex Niigata beat Cerezo Osaka 1-0.