J1 League Matchweek 1 Recap: 2024 season takes flight in epic fashion

J1 League Matchweek 1 Recap: 2024 season takes flight in epic fashion

The Meiji Yasuda J1 League is back! A full slate of matches kicked off another season of Japan’s top football league so let’s take a look at all the action.

Tokyo Verdy 1,Yokohama F·Marinos 2

Verdy returned to the top flight for the first time since 2008 with a brilliant Fuki Yamada free kick, but an 89th-minute penalty by Anderson Lopes brought Marinos level before Ken Matsubara scored a gorgeous 93rd-minute curler to win it in front of 53,026 at the Japan National Stadium.

Júbilo Iwata 0,Vissel Kobe 2

The defending champions kicked off the season right as Koya Yuruki and Daiju Sasaki found the back of the net to win in Iwata.

Sanfrecce Hiroshima 2,Urawa Reds 0

Yuki Ohashi starred in his Sanfrecce debut as he scored twice to lead the Three Arrows to victory in the opening match at the beautiful EDION Peace Wing Hiroshima. The full match report is available here.

Nagoya Grampus 0,Kashima Antlers 3

Hayato Nakama hit twice as Kashima cruised to a victory against Grampus that should serve as a statement that Antlers are ready to make a run at silverware in 2024.

Shonan Bellmare 1,Kawasaki Frontale 2

Frontale conceded after just seven minutes, but Yasuto Wakizaka scored a long-range screamer and Erison found the back of the net in his first J1 match to bring the visitors back for full points.

Cerezo Osaka 2,FC Tokyo 2

Ryotaro Araki scored twice in his FC Tokyo debut, while Capixaba and Shunta Tanaka tallied for the hosts, as the two sides traded goals all game in a thrilling draw.

FC Machida Zelvia 1,Gamba Osaka 1

Zelvia nearly had a win in their first-ever J1 match, but a 60th-minute red card gave Gamba an opening and Takashi Usami equalized in the 84th minute to split the points.

Sagan Tosu 1,Albirex Niigata 2

Kaito Taniguchi’s sublime volley is an early leader for Goal of the Year as Albi picked up an impressive away win.

Avispa Fukuoka 0,Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo 0

Consadole had the bulk of the ball, but chances were tough to come by for both clubs as each team exited opening weekend with a point.

Kashiwa Reysol 1,Kyoto Sanga 1

Matheus Sávio scored a fabulous goal to put Reysol in front, but Yuto Anzai found the back of the net in stoppage time to steal a point for Sanga in Kashiwa.