J1 Recap: Bellmare shock Antlers, Sanfrecce retain lead

The sixth round of the 2018 MEIJI YASUDA J1 League took place on Saturday and Sunday, with Sanfrecce Hiroshima maintaining their unbeaten record in a 1-0 win at Kashiwa Reysol.

Defender Sho Sasaki, who spent two full seasons absent due to successive ACL injuries, scored his first goal since December of 2015 to put the visitors ahead in the 17th minute on Sunday afternoon. But it was goalkeeper Takuto Hayashi who played a big role in preserving a full three points for Hiroshi Jofuku’s men when he dove to his left in order to stop a 75th-minute penalty kick by Reysol’s Cristiano.

On Saturday it was an early goal from Shinzo Koroki which gave Urawa Reds their first win of the campaign under caretaker manager Takeshi Otsuki, just one week after previous coach Takefumi Hori was dismissed. The reigning Asian champions rose to 16th place with five points.

Later that evening, Shonan Bellmare earned a dramatic upset 2-1 win over Kashima Antlers as Miki Yamane scored the 94th-minute game-winner. The stunning result came just one day after the club announced it would become a subsidiary of RIZAP Group, which operates a variety of fitness, fashion, and entertainment-related ventures in Japan.

The most lopsided result of the round came from Transcosmos Stadium, where FC Tokyo romped to a 5-2 win over hosts V-Varen Nagasaki. Striker Diego Oliveira netted a hat trick in the first hour of the match, with his second goal coming from the penalty spot.

A pair of goals just before and after the hour mark saw Sunday’s anticipated Kanagawa Derby end in a 1-1 draw between Yokohama F. Marinos and Kawasaki Frontale. The match marked a homecoming of sorts for Frontale midfielder Manabu Saito, who was roundly booed by fans of his former club when he came on in the 78th minute.

Players will have just a day or two of rest before the seventh round takes place on Wednesday, April 11.

Full Results for Round 6

Consadole Sapporo 3-0 Nagoya Grampus

Jubilo Iwata 0-0 Shimizu S-Pulse

Cerezo Osaka 2-1 Sagan Tosu

Urawa Reds 1-0 Vegalta Sendai

Shonan Bellmare 2-1 Kashima Antlers

V-Varen Nagasaki 2-5 FC Tokyo

Kashiwa Reysol 0-1 Sanfrecce Hiroshima

Gamba Osaka 0-1 Vissel Kobe

Yokohama F. Marinos 1-1 Kawasaki Frontale