Gamba defeat defending champions Yokohama FM! Newly promoted Kashiwa score four goals!

Gamba defeat defending champions Yokohama FM! Newly promoted Kashiwa score four goals!

The new season of the MEIJI YASUDA J1 LEAGUE kicked off on February 21.

Shonan Bellmare were the dominant side in the early phases of the opening match against Urawa Reds, and Naoki Ishihara opened his account in the 7th minute. However, Urawa gradually picked up pace and took the lead after Shinzo Koroki and new signing Leonardo found the net respectively in the 39th and 42nd minute.

Shonan fought back in the second half and Naoki Yamada’s header equalized for the home side in the 65th minute. Finally in the 85th minute, Takahiro Sekine finished from a counter attack and Urawa snatched a 3-2 win.

Four games took place on Saturday and Kashiwa Reysol beat Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo to claim their first victory after returning to J1.

Kashiwa took an early lead at home thanks to Ataru Esaka scoring in the 13th minute and Olunga doubling the advantage in the 20th minute. They each added another goal in the second half, and although Sapporo eventually halved their lead, the newly promoted side won 4-2.

Cerezo Osaka hosted Oita Trinita and kept a clean sheet, the winner coming from Bruno Mendes in the 8th minute. Vegalta Sendai drew 1-1 with Nagoya Grampus with Simão Mate’s goal in the 18th minute being canceled out by Hiroyuki Abe in the 34th. Kawasaki Frontale and Sagan Tosu could not manage to net a winning goal in a scoreless draw.

Another 4 games were played on Sunday and defending champions Yokohama FM started their campaign with a defeat at the hands of Gamba Osaka.

Gamba capitalized on their opponents’ mistake to take an early lead, and extended their advantage in the 34th minute, beating the home side’s high defensive line. Yokohama bossed the second half and Marcos Júnior scored his first J1 goal of the season in the 74th minute, but the champions ended up losing 2-1 at home.

FC Tokyo traveled to Shizuoka to meet Shimizu S-Pulse. Although it was the home side that took the lead early in the second half with Teerasil Dangda’s goal, Diego Oliveira equalized by scoring a penalty in the 77th minute and Adailton completed the comeback three minutes later. Leandro added another goal to secure a 3-1 win.

Douglas Vieira scored the first goal in the 20th minute for Sanfrecce Hiroshima, who faced Kashima Antlers at home. Leandro Pereira and Tsukasa Morishima each added a goal in the 25th and 84th minute to help the team claim a 3-0 victory. 

Finally, Yokohama FC managed to take the lead in Kobe when Tatsuki Seko scored in the 24th minute. But Vissel dominated the game and found an equalizer in the 74th minute. As a result, Yokohama picked up a precious point on the road, but could not start their first J1 season in 13 years with a win.