Yuto Misao’s own-goal saw reigning MEIJI YASUDA J1 League champions Kashima Antlers fall to a 1-0 home defeat to FC Tokyo on Saturday.
Masatada Ishii’s men had sought to send out a title statement on the opening day of the season but it was the capital side instead that threatened more, particularly in the second half.
And their endeavour paid off when they took the lead late on when Antlers keeper Kwoun Sun-tae parried Shoya Nakajima’s shot onto Misao and could only watch helplessly as the ball bobbled into the net.
It was a result that saw the Japanese champions fail to capitalise on Urawa Reds’ loss after they succumbed 3-2 at Yokohama F. Marinos despite Rafael Silva’s brace on his J1 League club debut.
New F. Marinos signing David Babunski had fired his team ahead in the first half but former Albirex Niigata midfielder Silva equalised after the hour mark, before putting the Reds in the lead two minutes later.
But the hosts seized all three points in thrilling fashion when Hugo Vieira pulled them level in the 86th minute and Naoki Maeda turned in in the second minute of stoppages.
Sagan Tosu took the lead against Kashiwa Reysol but eventually surrendered 3-1 following strikes from Cristiano, Diego Oliveira and Kosuke Taketomi.
Last term’s title contenders Kawasaki Frontale were made to wait for their victory at Omiya Ardija and eventually triumphed 2-0 following Yu Kobayashi’s opener and Kengo Nakamura’s 92nd-minute clincher.
Sanfrecce Hiroshima were unable to hold out for the win in a 1-1 stalemate against Albirex, while Cerezo Osaka kicked-off their return to the top-flight with a 0-0 result against Omiya Ardija.
Wataru Hashimoto ensured Vissel Kobe took all the spoils in a 1-0 victory at promoted Shimizu S-Pulse while Vegalta Sendai played out the same scoreline at home to Consadole Sapporo, as Gamba Osaka prepare to host Ventforet Kofu on Sunday.