Goals from Kento Hashimoto and Masato Morishige were more than enough to give FC Tokyo a dominant victory over Kawasaki Frontale in the 13th round of the MEIJI YASUDA J1 League as the capital side continues to pursue current leaders Sanfrecce Hiroshima.
The sold-out Todoroki Stadium was the perfect stage for the Children’s Day edition of the Tamagawa Clasico, and the clear blue skies perfectly matched the 20,000-plus Frontale supporters who arrived in home colors.
But the reigning J1 champions struggled to create any sort of consistent attack against the capital side, who neutralised striker Yoshito Okubo in the second half and gave super-substitute Yu Kobayashi little room to work his magic when he came on in the 57th minute.
Both of Tokyo’s goals came through set pieces: Hashimoto’s pounce on a free kick in the 14th minute left Frontale goalkeeper Shota Arai flailing, while defender Morishige leapt out of nowhere to drive home the dagger off a 69th-minute free kick deep in enemy territory.
“We struggled to connect the ball after we earned possession in the first half, but in the second half we were able to create counter-attacks,” Tokyo manager Kenta Hasegawa said after the match. “I told the players that set plays would be important in this match, and they were able to concentrate during those sequences.”
“We have a certain way of doing things and we weren’t able to do that today,” reflected Toru Oniki. “That we allowed those goals so easily is a problem.”
Elsewhere in the league on Saturday, Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo extended their club-best unbeaten streak to 10 matches in a 2-0 demolition of struggling Gamba Osaka, while Jubilo Iwata won their second straight thanks to Kengo Kawamata’s 2-1 game-winner at Kashiwa Reysol.
On Sunday, Sanfrecce Hiroshima maintained their eight-point league lead with a rain-soaked 2-0 win over Vissel Kobe, who were without injured captain Lukas Podolski. At Best Amenity Stadium, Sagan Tosu brought an end to their seven-match losing streak in a 3-1 victory over Shimizu S-Pulse.
Full Results for the J1 League’s 13th Round:
Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo 2-0 Gamba Osaka
Kashiwa Reysol 1-2 Jubilo Iwata
Kawasaki Frontale 0-2 FC Tokyo
Cerezo Osaka 3-1 V-Varen Nagasaki
Kashima Antlers 1-0 Urawa Reds
Nagoya Grampus 1-1 Yokohama F. Marinos
Sagan Tosu 3-1 Shimizu S-Pulse
Shonan Bellmare 1-3 Vegalta Sendai
Sanfrecce Hiroshima 2-0 Vissel Kobe