Wednesday saw the J.League 1’s four 2021 AFC Champions League representatives taking part in a series of rescheduled J1 matches, with defending champions Kawasaki Frontale hosting Avispa Fukuoka at the Todoroki Athletics Stadium, Gamba Osaka traveling away to Sagan Tosu, Nagoya Grampus taking on Sanfrecce Hiroshima at the Toyota Stadium, and Cerezo Osaka welcoming Tokushima Vortis to the Nagai Stadium. Whilst Kawasaki, Gamba, and Nagoya managed to get themselves all three points, Cerezo were instead stunned by their newly promoted opponents as a last minute own goal condemned the men in pink into a 2-1 defeat.
Taisei Miyashiro, on loan at Tokushima from Kawasaki, silenced the Nagai in the 14th minute with a quickly-taken shot, capping off a blistering Tokushima attack that saw Diego intercepting a Cerezo clearance before passing it quick towards Atsushi Kawata, who in turn passed the ball immediately to Akira Hamashita. Hamashita passed the ball short towards Miyashiro, who rifled in a first-time shot that went past a static Kim Jin-hyeon.
It took Cerezo approximately 19 minutes to draw level and they did so emphatically, with defender Ryosuke Shindo rising the highest to greet a long throw from Naoyuki Fujita with a powerful header that left Tokushima goalie Naoto Kamifukumoto utterly helpless.
The two sides then exchanged blows after Cerezo’s equalizer, with Jin-hyeon performing a diving save to deny a screamer from Kawata early in the second half and Kamifukumoto denying a volley from Mutsuki Kato three minutes after the hour-mark.
Eventually it was Tokushima who managed to land the killing blow in the 90th minute, when Cerezo defender Ryuya Nishio attempted to clear away a cross from Takeru Kishimoto only to end up sending the ball past his own keeper to seal all three points for the away side.
Unbeaten leaders Kawasaki extended their excellent start to the season with a comprehensive 3-1 win over Avispa, while Nagoya also continued their own invincible run with a 1-0 win over Sanfrecce, with goalkeeper Mitchell Langerak notching himself his ninth consecutive clean sheet of the season. Gamba also managed a 1-0 win away at Tosu, with Takashi Usami cementing the Suita-based side’s first three points of the season.