Kashima Antlers ran rampant on Saturday night as they thrashed Oita Trinita 4-1 at Oita’s Showa Denko Dome, etching their first away win underneath head coach Antonio Carlos Zago in the process. Brazilian striker Everaldo showed his class in the Matchweek 8 encounter, bagging himself a hat-trick that left Oita shellshocked.
Struggling Kashima came to the Showa Denko Dome with an abysmal record in the league so far – the 8-time J.League 1 champions have only won one out of their seven matches so far, drawing one match and losing the remaining five. Oita, on the other hand, were looking to halt a nosedive of form that saw them lose three times in a row, which included a 3-0 thrashing at home at the hands of Nagoya Grampus and giving Shimizu S-Pulse their first win of the season last time out as the Shizuoka Prefecture-based side beat Oita 4-2 at the IAI Stadium Nihondaira.
Oita started the match off brightly and the Turtles soon assumed leadership of the match after a Yuya Takazawa’s long-ranged shot made its way into Hitoshi Sogahata’s goal in the 5th minute. However, nine minutes afterwards, the Antlers managed to equalize after Toshio Shimakawa’s pass into his own half was intercepted by Everaldo, who lapped the ball enthusiastically and outpaced the Oita defenders pursuing him before beating Oita goalie Shun Takagi with a powerful shot.
Yasushi Endo almost turned the game around for a resurgent Kashima in the 24th minute with a shot that went over the Oita goal, however the Ibaraki Prefecture-based side soon got their comeback goal late into the first half. Takagi fouled Ryuji Izumi inside the box in the 38th minute, giving the referee no choice but award Kashima a penalty. Everaldo cooly dispatched the spot kick as Kashima went 2-1 up, with the scoreline lasting until half-time.
Oita thought that they had equalized the game in the 53rd minute after a skirmish within the Kashima penalty area following an Oita corner ended with Shimakawa smashing the ball home from close-range, only for the linesman to rule out the goal due to offside.
Shortly afterwards it was Kashima who distanced themselves from Oita as they went 3-1 up. Former Queretaro FC man Everaldo was on a roll on Saturday night as he took Oita to the cleaners, scoring his hat-trick from close range after an excellent build-up from both Endo and Shoma Doi.
Kashima then went on and put the icing on their cake deep into injury time. Rikuto Hirose crossed the ball into the box, where it was met with a header by substitute Ryotaro Araki. The ball then fell into fellow substitute Ryohei Shirasaki’s possession, who fired off a close-ranged shot that was deflected away by Takagi. Takagi was unable to clear the ball far enough though and Sho Ito pounced on the rebound, scoring Kashima’s fourth of the night and ensuring a miserable, damaging night for Oita.
Meanwhile, league leaders Kawasaki Frontale continued their unbeaten start to the season after dispatching hosts Gamba Osaka 1-0 at the Panasonic Stadium Suita, while fellow unbeaten side Nagoya Grampus were brought crashing down to earth by Kashiwa Reysol after the promoted side managed to eke out a 1-0 win at Nagoya’s own backyard, with Michael Olunga scoring the winning goal that ended Nagoya’s unbeaten record.
A last-minute winner from Marcos Junior ensured that defending champions Yokohama F. Marinos edged out hosts Vegalta Sendai with a hard-fought 1-0 win, while there were also away wins for Sanfrecce Hiroshima and Cerezo Osaka, who beat Yokohama FC 2-0 and Shonan Bellmare 1-0 respectively. A late Valdo goal meant that Shimizu managed to steal a point off Urawa Red Diamonds after the two sides played out a 1-1 draw at the Saitama Stadium 2002, while Sagan Tosu stunned FC Tokyo 3-2 at the Ajinomoto Stadium to earn themselves their first win of the season.
The J1’s Matchweek 8 continues on Sunday with Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo hosting Vissel Kobe, which would see Thai international Chanathip Songkrasin battle his wits against former FC Barcelona maestro Andres Iniesta on the pitch of the Sapporo Dome.