Dramatic comebacks and frustrating results arrived in equal measure this past weekend in the second round of the 2018 MEIJI YASUDA J1 League, with a full nine fixtures played out between Friday and Sunday.
Of Friday night’s three matches, only one ended with a victory as Kashiwa Reysol capitalised on several Yokohama F. Marinos errors for a 2-0 home win. South of Tokyo, Yu Kobayashi scored his first goal of the season for Kawasaki Frontale but Shonan Bellmare’s Temma Matsuda equalised 10 minutes later to preserve a 1-1 Kanagawa Derby draw.
The highlight of the evening was perhaps at Kincho Stadium, where Cerezo Osaka and Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo battled to a 3-3 draw. After taking a 2-0 halftime lead through strikes by Kenyu Sugimoto and Toshiyuki Takagi, Cerezo ceded two goals in the 62nd and 69th minutes to Chanathip Songkrasin and Kazuki Fukai. Yoichiro Kakitani put the hosts up again in the 72nd minute, but Ryosuke Shindo responded not 10 minutes later to become the third Consadole player of the night to net his first pro goal.
Saturday saw Nagoya Grampus win a second straight through Gabriel Xavier’s effort in a 1-0 win over Jubilo Iwata, while Vissel Kobe remained winless under captain Lukas Podolski following a 4-2 defeat to Shimizu S-Pulse. In the 7PM game, V-Varen Nagasaki held a 2-0 lead at halftime but settled for a disappointing 2-2 draw with Sagan Tosu, securing their first-ever J1 point.
Over 41,000 were in attendance at Saitama Stadium on Sunday to watch reigning Asian champions Urawa Reds host Sanfrecce Hiroshima, and most were pleased to see the hosts enter halftime with a 1-0 lead after Takuya Aoki scored the go-ahead goal. But Sanfrecce fought back in the second half, with substitute Kosuke Shibasaki netting the equalising goal and youngster Sho Inagaki finding the game-winner in the 79th minute to give new manager Hiroshi Jofuku a second straight win to start the campaign.
A busy week awaits J1 sides, with those who aren’t in AFC Champions League action set to open their Levain Cup campaigns on Wednesday before J1 action on Saturday and Sunday.
Full Results – 2018 J1 League Round 2
Kawasaki Frontale 1-1 Shonan Bellmare
Cerezo Osaka 3-3 Consadole Sapporo
Kashiwa Reysol 2-0 Yokohama F. Marinos
Nagoya Grampus 1-0 Jubilo Iwata
FC Tokyo 0-1 Vegalta Sendai
Kashima Antlers 1-0 Gamba Osaka
Vissel Kobe 2-4 Shimizu S-Pulse
V-Varen Nagasaki 2-2 Sagan Tosu
Urawa Reds 1-2 Sanfrecce Hiroshima