- Associated Press - Saturday, June 25, 2016

TOKYO (AP) - Seven-time champion Kashima Antlers overpowered last-place Avispa Fukuoka 2-0 on Saturday to clinch the J-League’s first-stage title.

Shuto Yamamoto headed in a 27th-minute goal to put Kashima ahead and Shoma Doi doubled the advantage eight minutes before the break as Antlers secured a place in the post-season playoffs.

Kashima finished the first stage with 39 points, one ahead of Kawasaki Frontale, which beat Omiya Ardija 2-0.

The winners of each stage and top three clubs of the aggregate table will qualify for the championship in November.

The second stage starts on July 2.

Also, Urawa Reds beat Vissel Kobe 3-1 and defending champions Sanfrecce Hiroshima defeated Ventforet Kofu 3-0.

Jubilo Iwata beat Vegalta Sendai 3-0 and Gamba Osaka and Nagoya Grampus finished 3-3.

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