KAWASAKI – Juninho scored a minute from time in his return from a lengthy injury layoff as Kawasaki Frontale managed a 1-0 home win against lowly Kyoto Sanga in the J. League on Sunday.
The Brazilian striker, who came on as a 62nd-minute substitute, hit a left-foot shot after latching on to an exquisite pass from Jumpei Kusukami.
Moments later, former Japan forward Atsushi Yanagisawa valiantly went for an equalizer but goalkeeper Takashi Aizawa palmed away his drive at Todoroki Stadium.
Kawasaki moved up to fourth in the table with 24 points, six behind leaders Kashima Antlers.
“It was a tough game. I’m so glad I played in front of these wonderful fans and hit the winner for them and the club,” said Juninho, who had missed all of the previous 13 league matches this season with a recurring calf injury.
“It was the first time in my career that I couldn’t play for such a long time. While in treatment in Brazil, I received a lot of warm video messages from fans. That’s why I was able to come back like this. I’d like to say this is the beginning of my new career.”
In other action, FC Tokyo earned a 3-1 win at Shonan Bellmare.
First-half goals from Masato Morishige and Naotake Hanyu put Tokyo in control. Masashi Oguro added a third in the 58th minute before Yuya Nakamura got one back four minute later for Shonan.
Vissel Kobe beat Omiya Ardija by the same scoreline.