Sanfrecce Hiroshima responded to their home humiliation to Gamba Osaka last time out with a comprehensive 4-0 win at Avispa Fukuoka in the MEIJI YASUDA J1 League on Sunday.
Hajime Moriyasu’s men slumped to a 3-1 defeat against Gamba last week as a miserable 2016 continued, but were determined to put that showing behind them at Level-5 Stadium as they demolished their opponents.
Avispa went behind to Peter Utaka’s opener in the 18th minute before Takumi Miyayoshi and Kosei Shibasaki put the game out of reach; Miyayoshi completing his brace after the break.
The win moved them 10 points behind league leaders Kawasaki Frontale who emerged 1-0 victors against Jubilo Iwata thanks to Daiki Ogawa’s 88th-minute own goal.
The 24-year-old could have played a major role in the title race given how it kept Frontale a single point clear of Kashima Antlers, who smashed four past Ventforet Kofu without reply.
Shoma Doi put Mastada Ishii’s men ahead in the first half but the floodgates did not truly open until the second, when Doi, Gaku Shibasaki and Mu Kanazaki all left their mark on a landslide victory.
Urawa Reds stuttered in a 0-0 draw away to struggling Sagan Tosu, while Gamba Osaka failed to close the gap and remain far off the title track in a 1-0 loss at FC Tokyo, sealed by Ryoichi Maeda’s strike in the 80th minute.
Omiya Ardija could have ended the day with a comfortable lead in fourth place after taking a 2-0 lead against Vissel Kobe, but a late showing from Nelsinho’s visitors saw Seigo Kobayashi and Leandro pull them level in the 84th minute.
Last term’s MEIJI YASUDA J2 League winners therefore have Yokohama F.Marinos to thank for defeating Kashiwa Reysol 3-0, with the result ensuring the latter still remain three points behind in the race for AFC Champions League football next season.
Vegalta Sendai were able to put themselves further clear of the drop zone with a helter-skelter 4-2 result over Albirex Niigata in what could turn out to be a crucial juncture in this season’s relegation race.
Shonan Bellmare likewise did their chances of survival no harm with a 2-1 win over Nagoya Grampus.