Kenyan international striker Michael Olunga will play in the Japanese second tier next season after his side Kashiwa Reysol were relegated despite a 3-0 win over Cerezo Osaka in their penultimate Japanese League match at Yanmar stadium on Saturday.
Kashiwa’s demotion was confirmed after fellow relegation candidates Nagoya Grampus shocked second-placed Sanfrecce Hiroshima 2-1 in another encounter to garner 40 points, four ahead of Kashiwa with a match to spare.
Kashiwa joins bottom-placed V-Varen Nagasaki as the two teams relegated from the 18-team league.
After a goalless first half, Yuta Nakayama broke the deadlock on 53 minutes before Ataru Esaka doubled the scores on 58 minutes. Brazilian Cristiano da Silva netted the third goal six minutes to the final whistle.
Olunga, who has scored three goals in 10 appearances since joining the side in August from Chinese side Guanzhou Zhicheng, was an unused substitute.
Kawasaki Frontale were crowned champions with one match to the end of the season.
Kashiwa host Gamba Osaka in the final game of the season next Saturday.