Sanfrecce Hiroshima’s see-saw MEIJI YASUDA J1 League season continued as they stumbled to a 3-3 draw at Kashiwa Reysol on Wednesday.
Fresh off a 4-2 home loss to Kashima Antlers at the weekend, Hajime Moriyasu’s men fell behind at Hitachi Stadium as early as the fifth minute through Yuta Nakayama’s goal, before Takuya Maratuni pulled one back.
Tsukasa Shiotani and then Kosei Shibasaki struck before half-time to see Sanfrecce enter the break with a 3-1 lead, but the Japanese champions were unable to hold on to that and they eventually succumbed to Reysol’s revival in the next period.
The hosts struck in quick succession, Diego Oliveira netting in the 56th minute to halve the deficit before the returned Cristiano completed the fightback five minutes later to leave Sanfrecce reeling ninth in the Second Stage rankings.
They are now five points behind leaders Kawasaki Frontale who once again have roared to the head of the table early, their 3-2 win over Albirex Niigata seeing to it.
It was a helter-skelter match that Frontale just managed to pull through without injured captain Kengo Nakamura, as they were 2-1 down after the hour mark despite Ryota Oshima grabbing the opener.
Albirex then collapsed in timely fashion as an own goal in the 80th minute allowed the hosts to level, before Yu Kobayashi struck four minutes into stoppages to seal a vital three points.
Frontale’s result prevented Urawa Reds from opening a gap at the top with their 1-0 result at Vegalta Sendai secured through Shinzo Koroki’s 93rd-minute winner.
Gamba Osaka were equally unconvincing in their 0-0 draw at Omiya Ardija but there were no such struggles for First Stage winners Antlers, who surged to an imperious 3-0 win against Nagoya Grampus.
Atsutaka Nakamura, Shuto Yamamoto and Yuma Suzuki all scored as Mastada Ishii had the luxury of leaving June’s J1 League MVP Mitsuo Ogasawara on the bench.
Avispa Fukuoka earned their first win of the Second Stage in a 2-1 comeback against FC Tokyo, Hisashi Jogo equaliser and Mizuki Hamada’s last-gasp winner cancelling out Kento Hishamoto’s goal.
Yokohama F.Marinos retained their lofty position in the table, sitting level on points with the leaders, after their 3-2 win over Vissel Kobe, secured once again with a vital contribution from evergreen playmaker Shunsuke Nakamura.
Sagan Tosu likewise continued their strong start to the Second Stage with a 2-0 win away to Shonan Bellmare, but a Jay Bothroyd-less Jubilo Iwata was unable to earn anything more than a 0-0 draw against Ventforet Kofu.