HIROSHIMA – Kashiwa Reysol toughed out a 0-0 draw at champions Sanfrecce Hiroshima to pick up their first point in three matches in the J. League on Wednesday night.
Junya Tanaka had the best chance when he hit the woodwork late in the first half but Reysol can be pleased to take a share of the spoils after back-to-back defeats including a 6-2 thrashing by Urawa Reds on Sunday.
The result leaves Hiroshima, who had won their last three games, eight points behind leaders Omiya Ardijia (32) going into the international break. Kashiwa are on 17 points.
The first half was a tight encounter and Mihael Mikic had the first chance to break the deadlock with a shot that was brilliantly turned over by Kashiwa keeper Takanori Sugeno on 27 minutes.
Tanaka smashed the underside of the crossbar from close range at the other end, before Sugeno was once again called on to beat away a shot from Tsukasa Shiotani.
Hiroshima looked the more dangerous going forward after the break but Reysol defended resolutely to hang on for a point.
“Obviously we had to try and get a positive result after the last game,” said Kashiwa boss Nelsinho. “We had to play a tactical game and be very organized at the back and look to counter.”
“I’m happy with the way each of the players carried out their roles tonight.”
In the evening’s other game, Yoshiaki Ota snatched a late equalizer to earn Vegalta Sendai a 1-1 draw at Urawa Reds, denying the Saitama giants the chance to close the gap on Omiya to three points. Urawa had gone ahead in the 80th minute through Yuki Abe.
Wednesday’s games were catch up matches for the four Japanese teams in this year’s Asian Champions League.
Kashiwa have made the quarterfinals and are the only J. League team left in the ACL.