HONG KONG, Dec 2 (Reuters) - Kawasaki Frontale claimed their first J.League title from under the noses of reigning champions Kashima Antlers in a dramatic final day of the 2017 season on Saturday.
Antlers’ 0-0 draw with long-time rivals Jubilo Iwata handed the championship to Frontale, whose 5-0 win over Omiya Ardija ensured Toru Oniki’s team finished ahead of Kashima on goal difference in the final standings.
The title win is Kawasaki’s first after a trio of second-place finishes in 2006, 2008 and 2009.
Kashima went into the final two rounds of matches with a four-point lead over Kawasaki but a pair of draws coupled with wins in their games for Frontale ensured the J.League trophy changed hands.
A Yu Kobayashi hat-trick secured a third win in a row for Kawasaki as they eased past Omiya to spark emotional scenes at Todoroki Stadium among the Frontale fans.
Antlers went into the game needing to win to seal a ninth J.League title but were unable to find a way past a stubborn Jubilo defence. (Reporting by Michael Church; Editing by John O’Brien)