East Asia Japan

Consadole Recover from Second Half Collapse to Force Vegalta Draw

Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo had Daiki Suga to thank on Saturday as they recover from a catastrophic collapse in the second half to draw Vegalta Sendai 3-3 in Matchweek 20 of the 2020 J.League 1 season. The Northerners had a slender 1-0 advantage coming into half-time at the Sapporo Dome, only for a remarkable opening 14 minutes of the second half to occur that saw Vegalta blew that slim advantage away and lead 3-1 before Consadole replied with two goals of their own shortly afterwards, with Suga scoring the equalizer that salvaged Consadole a point.

Playing without their “Jay and Jay” combination of Chanathip Songkrasin and Jay Bothroyd, Consadole initially took the lead in the 25th minute through Anderson Lopes, with the Brazilian taking advantage for a headed pass from Takuro Kaneko to slam home a header of his own past Vegalta goalie Yuma Obata.

However, Consadole had their advantage extinguished two minutes into the second half, after Takuma Hamasaki’s shot was deflected by a Consadole defender onto the path of Alexandre Guedes, with the Vitoria Guimaraes loanee rifling in a powerful shot that left Consadole goalkeeper Kojiro Nakano utterly beaten. Guedes then bagged himself a brace in the 50th minute, heading in an excellent cross from Kunimitsu Sekiguchi into Nakano’s goal. And before Consadole could even recover an inch of their bearings, Vegalta hammered a third goal into Nakano’s goal thanks to a Hamasaki corner being headed home by Yatsuhiro Hiraoka in the 57th minute.

Being 3-1 down apparently jolted life back into a shellshocked Consadole and two minutes after Vegalta had extended their lead, the Northerners struck back – a shot from Anderson was deflected into Obata’s goal by Keiya Shiihashi’s shoulder, reducing the deficit for Consadole. And wrapping up a crazy opening 14 minutes to the second half was Consadole’s 61st minute equalizer, with Suga curling in a powerful shot from within the Vegalta penalty box. Obata had his hands on Suga’s shot but it was too powerful for the keeper and with that Consadole got their equalizer.

Unfortunately for both Consadole and Vegalta, neither team could get themselves a winner in the remaining half an hour or so of the match, leaving the two teams sharing the points with the 3-3 stalemate. The draw ended a 3-match losing run for Consadole but extended their winless run to four matches, while Vegalta had their 6-match losing run snapped, however the Miyagi Prefecture-based team are still waiting for their first win since early August.

Elsewhere, Matchweek 20 had the small issue of a top-of-the-table clash between league leaders Kawasaki Frontale and 2nd placed Cerezo Osaka at the latter’s Nagai Stadium, an encounter that Kawasaki won 3-1. With the two teams drawing 1-1 for most of the second half, it took two late goals from Leandro Damiao and Kaoru Mitoma to seal the three points for Kawasaki.

At the NHK Spring Mitsuzawa Stadium, a brace from Michael Olunga powered Kashiwa Reysol to a thumping 3-0 win over hosts Yokohama FC, while 3-0 was also the final score at the Hiroshima Big Arch as Sanfrecce Hiroshima gave Sagan Tosu a good beating. Goals from Yuya Takazawa and Tatsuya Tanaka sent Oita Trinita to a 2-1 home win over Shimizu S-Pulse at the Showa Denko Dome, while Gamba Osaka dispatched Kashima Antlers 2-0 at the Panasonic Stadium Suita.

Matchweek 20 continues on Sunday with FC Tokyo visiting last-placed Shonan Bellmare, defending J1 champions Yokohama F. Marinos clashing with an in-form Vissel Kobe at the NHK Spring Mitsuzawa Stadium, and Urawa Red Diamonds welcoming Nagoya Grampus to the Saitama Stadium 2002.