Kawasaki beats struggling Kobe 2-1 in J-League

KOBE, Japan — Kazuaki Mawatari and Yu Kobayashi scored first-half goals as Kawasaki Frontale beat struggling Vissel Kobe 2-1 in the J-League on Sunday.

Mawatari opened the scoring on a free kick from 23 meters in the 15th minute and Kobayashi added to the lead late in the first half.

Kyogo Furuhashi scored for Kobe with eight minutes left in regulation but the hosts couldn't equalize.

Despite featuring players like Lukas Podolski, Andres Iniesta and David Villa, Kobe is off to a slow start and has just three wins in nine matches.

Kawasaki improved to four wins with four draws and one loss.

In other matches, Kensuke Nagai and Diego Oliveira scored as FC Tokyo remained in first place with a 2-0 win over Matsumoto Yamaga.

Tokyo improved to 23 points, four ahead of Nagoya Grampus, which beat Sanfrecce Hiroshima 1-0.

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More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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