KASHIMA, Ibaraki Pref. – Kashima Antlers suffered a second bout of penalty misery but still made a winning start to the new J. League season after a 4-0 drubbing of promoted Consadole Sapporo on Saturday.
Mitsuo Ogasawara and Brazilian striker Marquinhos both missed from the spot, but Toru Araiba struck twice and Marquinhos atoned with a goal before Ryuta Sasaki sealed victory in injury time at Kashima Stadium.
Looking to rebound from a controversial penalty shootout defeat in last week’s Xerox Super Cup fiasco, Kashima controlled proceedings against defensive Sapporo but it was the visitors that should have taken the lead when Brazilian striker Davi burst through only to blaze over on the stroke of halftime.
Ogasawara spurned a golden chance to punish that miss when Yuya Sato dived to push away his penalty two minutes into the second half.
Araiba finally made Kashima’s dominance pay with a header from Ogawasara’s corner on 51 minutes and the former Gamba Osaka man added the second with a classy finish in the 65th, just after Marquinhos had blazed his penalty over the bar.
Marquinhos put the game out of reach with a cheeky back heel on 71 minutes before substitute Sasaki’s neat finish completed the rout.
At Toyota Stadium, Norwegian striker Frode Johnsen earned Dragan Stojkovic a point on his managerial debut with a headed equalizer as Nagoya Grampus Eight drew 1-1 at home to promoted Kyoto Sanga.
FC Tokyo against Vissel Kobe also finished 1-1, Keisuke Kurihara’s 54th-minute effort canceling out Yasuyuki Konno’s opener at Ajinomoto Stadium, while journeyman striker Ueslei put Oita Trinita on the road to a surprise 2-1 win at Shimizu S-Pulse.