SENDAI – Substitute Hidetaka Kanazono capitalized on comical defending to snatch a stoppage-time equalizer and earn Jubilo Iwata a point in a roller-coaster 3-3 draw away to Vegalta Sendai in the J. League on Saturday.
Unbeaten Sendai squandered an early two-goal lead but Makoto Kakuda looked to have won it for the home side when he made it 3-2 with a superb header two minutes from time at Yurtec Stadium.
There was still time for another twist though as a mixup between Jiro Kamata and goalkeeper Takuto Hayashi allowed Kanazono to secure Iwata a share of the spoils in the second minute of added time.
“I wanted Kaku’s (Kakuda’s) goal to end the game and to watch a mixup between two players to concede like that when you are running down the clock was difficult to take,” said Sendai manager Makoto Teguramori, whose side also succumbed to a late leveler in last week’s 1-1 draw at Cerezo Osaka.
“We conceded just like we did in the last game but I have talked to the players and told them we have to learn from our mistakes. It’s a waste to do that twice in a row and obviously it hurts but maybe that’s just what we need.”
Sendai made a dream start and took the lead with less than four minutes on the clock.
Ryang Yong Gi laid the ball off to Park Ju Sung and the South Korean crossed for Naoki Sugai to lose his marker and head past Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi at the far post.
Sendai, along with Sanfrecce Hiroshima, is three points behind Kashiwa Reysol, who stayed top of the table with a 3-0 win over Albirex Niigata, an exquisite strike from Jorge Wagner putting Nelsinho’s men on the road to victory at Big Swan.
“It was a good turning point and more than anything the goal was important for the team,” said the Brazilian. “We were away against a good defensive team and were struggling a bit until we got the first goal.”
Nelsinho added, “It was pretty even but we were able to neutralize our opponent’s strong points and take our chances and that was the difference. This is a massive win for us.”
There were goals flying in all over the country and World Cup striker Yoshito Okubo and Ken Tokura both hit braces as Vissel Kobe romped to a 5-1 win at Shimizu S-Pulse, while Tadanari Lee scored twice as 10-man Hiroshima beat Yokohama F. Marinos 3-2 at Big Arch.
Omiya Ardija maintained their strong away form with a 1-0 win at Montedio Yamagata.