Matchweek 7 of the 2021 J.League 1 was played out over the weekend, with Sagan Tosu losing their unbeaten streak after a 1-0 defeat away at Cerezo Osaka while defending champions Kawasaki Frontale, Sanfrecce Hiroshima, and Nagoya Grampus remain as the only unbeaten teams in the league so far. Gamba Osaka also made their return to J1 action after a COVID-imposed hiatus, while bottom dwellers Yokohama FC managed to gain their first point of the season.
Opening up the matchweek was Tosu traveling to the Nagai Stadium on Friday to take on Cerezo in a battle between third against fourth. The away side were determined to keep their good run going and establish themselves as a surprise addition in the J1’s top half, however a 46th minute goal from Hiroaki Okuno sealed the three points for Cerezo, with Tosu finishing the match on 10 men after Hwang Seok-ho’s 77th minute dismissal.
Saturday saw Cerezo’s city rivals Gamba finally taking the pitch once again after Matchweek 1, having suspended operations after a COVID-19 outbreak within the Suita-based side’s premises. Gamba took on Sanfrecce at the latter’s Hiroshima Big Arch for their Matchweek 7 encounter, which ended in a goalless stalemate – a result that preserves Sanfrecce’s unbeaten run. Nagoya also retained their own invincible streak, however the Aichi Prefecture-based side’s winning streak came to a screeching halt as FC Tokyo forced out a 0-0 draw at the Toyota Stadium.
Last-placed Yokohama FC played out a 1-1 draw with fellow strugglers Kashiwa Reysol at the NHK Mitsuzawa Spring Stadium, the home side’s first point of the 2021 league season. The solitary point enabled Yokohama FC to move off bottom spot and into 19th place, three points away from safety.
Defending J1 champions Kawasaki Frontale continued their blistering start to the season, with Kaoru Mitoma scoring twice as they ran out 2-0 winners over Oita Trinita at the Todoroki Athletics Stadium. With seven wins and one draw from their first eight matches, Kawasaki are establishing quite the strong foundation for their title defense.
Other results on Saturday include a 1-1 draw between Kanagawa Prefecture rivals Yokohama F. Marinos and Shonan Bellmare at the Nissan Stadium, a 2-1 win for Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo away at Avispa Fukuoka, Vissel Kobe’s 2-0 win away at Vegalta Sendai, and Urawa Red Diamonds triumphing 2-1 over Kashima Antlers at the Saitama Stadium 2002.
Last but not least, Tokushima Vortis managed to stun Shimizu S-Pulse 3-0 away at the IAI Stadium Nihondaira in Sunday’s only Matchweek 7 game.