A trio of second-half goals helped Sanfrecce Hiroshima capture their fourth FUJI XEROX Super Cup with a 3-1 win over Gamba Osaka on Saturday at Yokohama’s Nissan Stadium.
New Gamba addition Ademilson joined a high-octane starting XI that included Takashi Usami and Patric, but the Emperor’s Cup holders opened the game on the defensive.
Sanfrecce spent the first half piling on the pressure, but neither they nor Kenta Hasegawa’s men were able to find a goal before the interval.
As the rain intensified so did the J.League champions’ attack, with Hisato Sato finally breaking the deadlock in the 51st minute.
Sanfrecce were awarded a controversial penalty kick minutes later when referee Jumpei Iida awarded for a perceived Daiki Niwa handball in the penalty area.
Substitute Takuma Asano converted from the spot with a high shot to make it 2-0.
Gamba star Takashi Usami reduced the deficit to 2-1 with a 68th-minute header, but a debut volley just five minutes after by Peter Utaka gave Sanfrecce a comfortable 3-1 lead.
Both clubs will begin their AFC Champions League campaigns this week, with Sanfrecce hosting Shandong Luneng on February 23 and Gamba visiting Suwon Bluewings the day after.