J1 Recap: Sanfrecce expand lead, Tokyo rise to third

The J1 League’s first mid-week round of the season took place on Wednesday night, continuing a packed schedule that will see all 18 clubs play eight competitive fixtures in April.

On a rainy night at Edion Stadium, Sanfrecce Hiroshima found themselves trailing 0-1 at halftime when Yokohama F. Marinos’ Hugo Vieira scored from the penalty spot. But the J1 leaders mounted a remarkable comeback in the second half, with Thai star Teerasil Dangda equalising with a penalty kick of his own in the 51st minute and super-sub Patric clanging in two goals in the 79th and 90th minutes for a 3-1 final score.

In a wild back-and-forth at Paloma Mizuho Stadium, Nagoya Grampus fell 3-2 to Vegalta Sendai, who climbed into second place on the strength of Naoki Ishihara’s opener and a brace by Takuma Nishimura. Grampus manager Yahiro Kazama waited to bring on Brazilian striker Jo until the 39th minute, and while the former Corinthians man responded by scoring twice it was not enough to give Grampus their first win since opening day.

Facing Kashima Antlers at home, FC Tokyo fell behind midway through the first half when Mu Kanazaki found the back of the net from the edge of the box in the 29th minute. The hosts evened the score up just 10 minutes later when defender Sei Muroya forced an Antlers own goal, and 10 minutes into the second half it was Muroya who received Kensuke Nagai’s clever back heel before making a remarkable solo run and scoring from the right side of the area. Kenta Hasegawa’s men held on for a 2-1 win, their fourth straight, rising to third place behind Vegalta.

The night also saw long-awaited first wins of the season for two clubs, with Musashi Suzuki scoring for V-Varen Nagasaki in their 1-0 victory at Shimizu S-Pulse and Fabio and Hwang Ui-jo netting goals for Gamba Osaka in a 2-0 home win against Jubilo Iwata.

Clubs will have just two or three days to prepare for the league’s eighth round, which will take place on April 14 and 15.

Full Results for Round 7

Consadole Sapporo 1-0 Shonan Bellmare

FC Tokyo 2-1 Kashima Antlers

Kawasaki Frontale 1-2 Cerezo Osaka

Shimizu S-Pulse 0-1 V-Varen Nagasaki

Nagoya Grampus 2-3 Vegalta Sendai

Gamba Osaka 2-0 Jubilo Iwata

Vissel Kobe 2-3 Urawa Reds

Sanfrecce Hiroshima 3-1 Yokohama F. Marinos

Sagan Tosu 1-2 Kashiwa Reysol