Sagan Tosu have been led by their defense all season, so it was fitting when their center back delivered them victory at both ends of the pitch against Vegalta Sendai on Sunday.
Eduardo took his usual spot in the heart of defense and played immaculately, cutting out Vegalta’s forays forward with ease. The Sagan backline, which had struggled of late with just one clean sheet in their last eight matches, returned to form and shut out the visitors.
But it was Eduardo’s work in the final third that stole all the headlines. Sagan needed all three points to stay level in the fight for third place, and it was the defender who won them when he stepped up to a free kick in the 66th minute, launching a curling left-footed rocket into the top corner.
The win pushed Sagan to 47 points, leaving them equal with Kashima Antlers, Vissel Kobe and Nagoya Grampus in the exciting fight for third place, and putting them in strong contention to record their best-ever league finish.