East Asia Japan

Asano Winner Condemns Shonan to Last Place

Sanfrecce Hiroshima managed to climb up to 8th place in the J.League 1 table after edging out Shonan Bellmare 1-0 at the Hiroshima Big Arch on Sunday. The Matchweek 9 result also condemned Kanagawa Prefecture-based Shonan to the league’s basement, propping up the table with a mere 4 points to their name.

Yuya Asano was the hero for Sanfrecce on Sunday as the 23-year old scored his second goal of the season on the stroke of half-time to power Sanfrecce to all three points. Brother of former Sanfrecce, Arsenal, and Stuttgart striker Takuma, Yuya took advantage of a Sho Sasaki cross and fired a hastily-taken shot that went past Shonan goalkeeper Kosei Tani in the first minute of stoppage time. Coincidentally, Takuma also scored on the very same day only hours afterwards, as his Partizan Belgrade side crushed Javor Ivanjica 4-0 in the third round of the 2020-21 Serbian Superliga season.

Leandro Pereira had a chance to double Sanfrecce’s lead in the closing stages of the match, firing off an audacious long-ranged screamer from the half-way line that struck the goalpost. However, at the end of the day, Yuya’s goal was enough to seal the three points for Sanfrecce, while at the same time condemning Shonan to their third straight defeat.

With only one win in their nine matches so far, Shonan are now the J1’s basement dwellers, with Yokohama FC hovering above them with 5 points and Oita Trinita rounding off the bottom three with 7 points. However, the three clubs could breathe a sigh of relief as there will be no relegation in the J1 this season due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

J1’s Matchweek 9 was concluded with Cerezo Osaka and FC Tokyo playing out a 0-0 draw at Cerezo’s Nagai Stadium, in a match that was dominated by the hosts. Cerezo were unable to break through the resolute FC Tokyo defense though and the men in pink were forced to share the spoils with the Gasmen.