Esaka double leads Urawa past Kawasaki to win FUJIFILM SUPER CUP 2022

Esaka double leads Urawa past Kawasaki to win FUJIFILM SUPER CUP 2022

Urawa Reds kicked off the new Japanese football season in style, beating Kawasaki Frontale, 2-0, to win FUJIFILM SUPER CUP 2022.

Ataru Esaka scored goals on both sides of halftime to lead Urawa, who took home the coveted trophy for the first time since 2006.

The FUJIFILM SUPER CUP, which pits last season’s league champions against the Emperor’s Cup winners, saw a spirited crowd at Nissan Stadium in Yokohama excited for the beginning of another season of football in full voice for both teams, but the match tilted Urawa’s way quickly.

Just seven minutes in, Hiroki Sakai burst down the right side and picked out Esaka. His pass hit the onrushing Esaka perfectly in stride and the forward used his first touch to bury the ball in the back of the net, finishing a lovely move to give Urawa an early lead.

Frontale took control of the ball from that point on and would even finish the contest with 69% of possession, but Urawa defended expertly and kept the league champions from creating chances while generating some of the best opportunities of the match off counter attacks.

Urawa put the game to bed in the 81st minute when Takahiro Akimoto won the battle for a long ball and was able to gain possession before feeding Esaka. Matched 1v1 at 25 yards in the center of the pitch, Esaka cut left to create space before finishing with ease for his second goal of the game and wrapping an excellent Reds performance.

When the referee blew for the final whistle, the Urawa bench celebrated and their supporters joined them. They had hoped that last season’s Emperor’s Cup triumph would propel them to even greater things in 2022 and if the FUJIFILM SUPER CUP was any indication, they are a force to be reckoned with. This could be a big season for the men from Saitama.