Kashiwa Reysol will have to wait for another week for a chance to clinch the J.League title after being held to a 1-1 home draw by Cerezo Osaka.
Kashiwa could have won the league had they won against Cerezo and Nagoya failed to do so against Montedio Yamagata. However, their draw and Nagoya's 3-0 win leaves the two sides separated by a point going into the final round of matches, with Gamba Osaka a further point behind.
Kashiwa looked tense from the outset and fell behind three minutes after half-time when Taikai Uemoto poked home after Hiroshi Kiyotake headed on Hiroyuki Omata's corner.
Kashiwa substitute Junya Tanaka hit the post but then set up Leandro Domingues to score the equaliser.
They were unable to find a winner but will secure the title if they can win at Urawa Reds on the final day of league action next Saturday - no matter what their nearest challengers.
Coach Nelsinho said: "No matter what happened today we are scheduled to play at Urawa next week, and we will play to win there.''
In Nagoya, Australia forward and J.League top scorer Josh Kennedy met Yoshizumi Ogawa's corner with a header in the seventh minute to give Grampus an early lead and defender Marcus Tulio Tanaka converted two Jungo Fujimoto free-kicks late in the first half to put the result beyond doubt.
Korea striker Lee Keun-ho headed the only goal as Gamba beat Sendai, ending the visitors' 11-match unbeaten run.
Sixth-placed Kashima Antlers ended their winless run at three matches with a 3-0 win over 10-man Shimizu S-Pulse thanks to goals from Fellype Gabriel, Takuya Nozawa and Alex.
Shimizu went down to 10 men in the 58th minute after defender Masasaki Yamamoto collected his second booking.
In Fukuoka, Urawa collected a crucial three points to keep alive their hopes of avoiding relegation against 10-man Avispa Fukuoka. Yosuke Kashiwagi and Marcio Richardes struck as Urawa came from behind to win 2-1, while Fukuoka had midfielder Toshiya Sueyoshi sent off in the 62nd minute.
Kawasaki Frontale beat Yokohama F. Marinos 3-0 with two goals from Juninho and Sanfrecce Hiroshima defeated 10-man Omiya Ardija 4-2 at home, while Jubilo Iwata visit Vissel Kobe on Sunday.