KOFU, Japan (AP) -Milivoje Novakovic scored twice in the first half Saturday as Omiya Ardija beat Ventforet Kofu 3-0 to maintain its lead in the J-League standings.
Novakovic opened the scoring with a penalty kick in the fourth minute and defender Kosuke Kikuchi widened the lead midway through the first half with a right-foot shot from 15 meters.
The Slovenian striker then made it 3-0 with three minutes left in the first half with his seventh goal of the season.
Omiya improved to 32 points, five ahead of Yokohama F Marinos, which beat Sagan Tosu 1-0 on Seitaro Tomisawa's goal in the 77th minute.
In other matches, defending champion Sanfrecce Hiroshima beat Shonan Bellmare 2-0 with first-half goals by Yojiro Takahagi and Mihael Mikic. Hiroshima won its third straight and is nine points back of Omiya with a game in hand.
Yoshito Okubo scored twice to lead Kawasaki Frontale to a 2-1 win over Albirex Niigata while Shimizu S-Pulse downed Vegalta Sendai 2-0 on goals by Yosuke Kawai and Toshiyuki Takagi.
Yuya Osako scored twice as Kashima Antlers moved into third place with a 3-2 win over FC Tokyo. Brazilian Edno and Yoichiro Kakitani scored in the second half as Cerezo Osaka beat Nagoya Grampus 2-1.
Oita Trinita and Jubilo Iwata finished 1-1.