KAWASAKI, Japan — Kawasaki Frontale won its first J-League championship on Saturday, thrashing Omiya Ardija 5-0 to overturn a two-point deficit with defending champions Kashima Antlers on the final day of the season.
Captain Yu Kobayashi scored a hat trick as Kawasaki were crowned champions after eight-time title winners Kashima were held to a goalless draw away to Jubilo Iwata.
Both teams finished the season on 72 points but Kawasaki won the title by virtue of superior goal difference.
Hiroyuki Abe put the hosts on the score sheet in the first minute and Kobayashi doubled the advantage in first-half stoppage time.
Kobayashi made it 3-0 on the hour mark and widened the lead with a penalty kick with 10 minutes remaining. Tatsuya Hasegaya completed the rout in the sixth minute of injury time.
Kobayashi finished the season as the top flight’s leading scorer with 23 goals.
In other games, Consadole Sapporo beat Sagan Tosu 3-2 while Yokohama F Marinos edged Urawa Reds 1-0. Relegated Albirex Niigata beat third place Cerezo Osaka 1-0.
Kashiwa Reysol finished in fourth place after a 1-0 defeat of Sanfrecce Hiroshima. FC Tokyo and Gamba Osaka finished in a goalless draw.