Albirex Niigata inflicted on Urawa Reds their second major defeat in a row, defeating them 5-0 in the first leg of the Yamazaki Nabisco Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday to ensure they are all but out.
The MEIJI YASUDA J1 League first stage winners suffered a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Shunsuke Nakamura’s Yokohama F.Marinos at the weekend and were seeking to bounce back here, though the majority of first-team players are on international duty.
However, despite a bright start, Mihailo Petrovic’s understrength side were caught out when a quick free-kick from deep in the Albirex half found Ryohei Yamazaki right before the half-time whistle, the striker firing home.
The floodgates duly opened in the second half as Michael James put the hosts 2-0 up, before Hiroshi Ibusuki netted a brace - his second goal a beautiful solo effort as he shrugged off the attentions of Ryota Moriwaki.
Albirex fittingly completed the rout through Rafael Silva, who celebrated his return to action following an injury lay-off by putting them in a commanding position ahead of Sunday’s second leg with the fifth goal.
The Reds were not the only ones who suffered an upset this round, as Kashiwa Reysol succumbed 2-0 at home to former coach Nelsinho’s side Vissel Kobe.
Tatsuma Yoshida watched as his Reysol missed a hatful of chances to open the scoring, with Vissel surviving seeing a sixth-minute header come off the bar.
The visitors held on till after the hour mark, when they burst forwards themselves and netted through Daisuke Ishizu.
Kazuma Watanabe then netted an 85th-minute clincher to put Vissel in the driving seat ahead of the return fixture at Kobe Universiade Memorial Stadium this weekend.