East Asia Japan

Sagan vs Shonan Ends in Stalemate Once Again

Both Sagan Tosu and Shonan Bellmare once again played out a stalemate in their second J.League 1 encounter in a week, this time drawing 2-2 at Tosu’s Ekimae Real Estate Stadium on Sunday’s only Matchweek 24 game. Having previously played out a 0-0 draw at Shonan’s Shonan BMW Stadium Hiratsuka on last Wednesday’s rescheduled match, the two J1 strugglers were once again forced to share the spoils, however unlike the first encounter, the second match between these two saw an exchange of goals that saw Tosu leaving it deep into the second half to salvage themselves a point.

With the abolishment of relegation for the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, both 15th placed Tosu and 16th placed Shonan had no pressure coming into Sunday’s encounter, however they have the matter of pride to play for as neither of them want to finish the season in the bottom three spots. Shonan currently occupy one of those bottom three spots with 17th placed Shimizu S-Pulse and 18th placed Vegalta Sendai occupying the other two, while Tosu are positioned right above the bottom three, seven points clear of Shonan.

And it was Shonan who showed their intent to escape the bottom three right away, claiming a 20th minute lead thanks to a Mitsuki Saito cross being headed into the Tosu goal by Akimi Barada. Tosu hit back only 14 minutes later though and drew level after Cho Dong-geon slammed home a cross from Daiki Matsuoka with a weak header.

Shonan reclaimed the lead just before half-time though, with Hiroshi Ibusuki, formerly on the books of Girona, Sevilla, and KAS Eupen, slotting home a cross from Norway international Tarik Elyounoussi with a well-timed finish from close range.

The men from Kanagawa Prefecture were unable to retain their slender lead into full-time though, as in the 75th minute substitute Daichi Hayashi toe-poked a Tomoya Koyamatsu pass into Kosei Tani’s goal.

The draw meant that both teams remain in their same positions before the match, with Tosu retaining their seven-point advantage over Shonan. Shonan were able to extend their unbeaten run to three games though, having drawn twice and won once in their previous three matches.