2020 J.League 1 bronze medalists Nagoya Grampus started off their 2021 campaign on a positive note after dispatching newly promoted Avispa Fukuoka 2-1 at the Best Denki Stadium on Sunday. Brazilian attacker Mateus was the standout performer for Massimo Ficcadenti’s men in Fukuoka as he bagged both of Nagoya’s goals, ensuring that the Orcas of Nagoya managed to ruin the Wasps of Fukuoka’s top flight return.
Promoted as runners-up of the 2020 J.League 2 season, Avispa welcome Nagoya to the Best Denki in their first J1 match in five years. Despite COVID measures limiting the amount of attendance at the stadium, Avispa’s faithful supporters were surely relishing the top flight action that they’ve missed out on for some time. However, all of those excitement from the home side were extinguished as early as the 4th minute after Mateus had given Nagoya the early lead.
Yuki Soma played former Omiya Ardija man Mateus from the left flank and the Brazilian performed an excellent individual effort to nutmeg the ball through the legs of an Avispa defender before outmuscling another defender and capping off the move by firing off a low shot that left Avispa goalie Masaaki Murakami well-beaten.
Having taken the early initiative, Nagoya then went ahead and took full charge of the match, leaving Avispa on the back foot for most of the times. Soma tested the Avispa defense several times with his attempts that was saved by Murakami, while the presence of Yoichiro Kakitani, a winter signing from Cerezo Osaka, provided Nagoya with an extra dimension of attack that overwhelmed Avispa.
And sure enough, Mateus doubled the Aichi Prefecture-based side’s lead in the 55th minute. A cross from Yutaka Yoshida was cleared improperly by Carlos Gutierrez, thus providing Mateus with the opportunity to rifle in the killing blow past Murakami.
Now two goals down, Avispa tried their best in pulling themselves back up and provide some degree of resistance to the visitors. Bruno Mendes, another former Cerezo player, almost halved the deficit in the 78th minute after receiving a cross from Emil Salomonsson, however the Brazilian’s header could only rattle the goalpost.
A Yoshida own-goal in the 82nd minute provided Avispa with some glimmer of hope and Nagoya with a nervy finish to the match, however the latter managed to hung onto their lead and leave Fukuoka with all three points, thus giving Avispa a disappointing start to their J1 return.