Leo Ceara leads the way as Marinos hammer Reysol

Leo Ceara scored two goals and two assists on Saturday as J. League Premier Division leaders Yokohama F Marinos maintained their grip on top spot by beating Kashiwa Reysol 4-0.

The Brazilian striker doubled his J1 goal tally after scoring for Kevin Muscat’s side in both halves at Nissan Stadium.

He set up Takuma Nishimura’s opener in the 17th minute with a clever back heel, then scored his first goal two minutes later, tapping in after compatriot Elber intercepted the ball and left it inside from the surface.

“Ninety-five percent of that goal belonged to Elber,” Leo said. “All I had to do was finish, so I have to thank him.”

Leo helped create the hosts’ third with another deft touch in the 28th minute, using his chest to deflect a throw-in into the path of Kota Mizunuma, who scored through a group of Kashiwa defenders.

Leo, 27, netted his brace two minutes into the second half, leaping straight ahead after Shinnosuke Hatanaka redirected a long free-kick across the face of the goal.

Muscat credited their side with securing their fourth consecutive J1 win amid a busy schedule that included Wednesday’s shock 2-0 loss to second division Tochigi SC in the Emperor’s Cup third round.

“The result (today) is obviously very satisfying, but that’s the way (in which) we got the result,” Muscat said.

“Now we have the rare luxury of having seven days to prepare (for the next game), so I’m looking forward to working with the players and doing some preparatory work.”

Nelsinho’s Kashiwa side lost a place on the table, with Sanfrecce Hiroshima dropping them to fourth after a 3-1 away win over Avispa Fukuoka.

Reigning champions Kawasaki Frontale lost ground to Marinos in the title chase, conceding an 85th-minute equalizer and drawing 1-1 with visiting Jubilo Iwata, who nearly stole the game with a subsequent attempt who touched the woodwork.

Frontale, who were also knocked out of the Emperor’s Cup midweek, moved up to second in the J1 standings, one point ahead of Kashima Antlers, who can come back ahead of Toru Oniki’s men avoiding a loss to Nagoya Grampus on Sunday.

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