J1 League Recap: Sanfrecce Hiroshima fall to Urawa Reds; Tokyo fail to gain ground

J1 League leaders Sanfrecce Hiroshima extended their winless streak to two matches on Saturday in the league’s typhoon-shortened 18th round.

On Friday night at Ajinomoto Stadium, Juanma’s 77th-minute goal gave V-Varen Nagasaki a 1-0 win at FC Tokyo, a result that lifted the J1 debutants to eventual 14th place.

Sanfrecce lost a chance to expand their gap from Tokyo to 10 points, losing 1-4 to Urawa Reds who found the back of the net three times in the second half. Shinzo Koroki netted the opener in the 25th minute and sent the team ahead for good in the 71st, while Tomoya Ugajin and Fabricio also scored in the final 20 minutes of play.

In their first match under new head coach Tsuneyasu Miyamoto, Gamba Osaka fell behind to Kashima Antlers when defender Koki Machida scored in the 41st minute, only to salvage a draw when Koki Yonekura equalized midway through the second half at Suita Stadium.

Andres Iniesta made his starting lineup debut for Vissel Kobe, but it was Asahi Masuyama who made the highlights when his 66th-minute goal gave Vissel a 1-0 win over struggling Kashiwa Reysol. Iniesta’s compatriot Fernando Torres featured as a starter for Sagan Tosu, who drew 0-0 against Jubilo Iwata.

A dramatic 95th-minute strike by Yusuke Maruhashi helped Cerezo Osaka earn a point at Vegalta Sendai in a 2-2 draw, much to the depointment of the Yurtec Stadium faithful who just 10 minutes earlier had cheered Koji Hachisuka’s go-ahead goal.

Typhoon #12 forced the postponement of three matches, which will be rescheduled for later dates.

Full Results: MEIJI YASUDA J1 League Round 18

FC Tokyo 0-1 V-Varen Nagasaki

Vegalta Sendai 2-2 Cerezo Osaka

Gamba Osaka 1-1 Kashima Antlers

Vissel Kobe 1-0 Kashiwa Reysol

Sanfrecce Hiroshima 1-4 Urawa Reds

Sagan Tosu 0-0 Jubilo Iwata