SAITAMA – A stunning second-half strike from Yoshizumi Ogawa provided Akira Nishino with his first win as Nagoya Grampus manager as the 2010 J. League champions edged Omiya Ardija 2-1 away on Saturday.
Ex-Japan striker Keiji Tamada finished with aplomb in the 53rd minute and Ogawa lit up a largely uneventful encounter in Saitama with a superb solo effort, helping Grampus rebound from their season-opening defeat at home to Shimizu S-Pulse last weekend.
“It’s always nice to get a first win with your new team whichever club you are with,” said former Kashiwa Reysol, Gamba Osaka and Vissel Kobe boss Nishino.
“We are going to need to produce better performances but we got the right result.”
Ogawa tested Omiya goalkeeper Keiki Shimizu on a couple of occasions, but there few talking points in the first half on a bright, chilly afternoon at NACK5 Stadium.
Tamada broke the deadlock when he steered home in front of Grampus’s red army of fans behind the goal after taking a fabulous pass from Australia striker Josh Kennedy.
Ogawa then stole the show when he doubled the lead on 66 minutes finishing off a surging run that began in his own half.
Omiya defender Shohei Takahashi reduced the arrears from close range four minutes later, but despite a spell of late pressure during which they had a goal ruled out for offside, the Squirrels were unable to find an equalizer and slumped to a second straight defeat.
“After the first half the match could have gone either way but we scored first and I was able to give us a 2-0 lead,” said Ogawa. “We had a few scares at the end but were able to see out the game and this is a massive three points for us.”
Added Kennedy, “It was disappointing that we lost last weekend since we led 2-1 so I think coming here and getting an away win is important. It wouldn’t have been very nice (if Omiya’s disallowed goal had stood). Thank God it was offside and we got the victory.”
In the day’s early kickoff at Big Arch, Tsukasa Shiotani scored the winner for the second week in a row, ramming home a 95th-minute free kick as two-time defending champions Sanfrecce Hiroshima came from behind to beat Kawasaki Frontale 2-1.
Gamba Osaka picked up their first three points back in the top flight, second-half goals from Keisuke Iwashita and Kotaro Omori earning a 2-0 win away to Albirex Niigata.
Gamba’s neighbors Cerezo Osaka also registered their first win of the season, a 10th-minute strike from Hotaru Yamaguchi and an own goal giving Ranko Popovic’s men a 2-0 win at promoted Tokushima Vortis. Yokohama F. Marinos made it two wins out of two by edging Shimizu 1-0, courtesy of Manabu Saito’s 13th-minute effort.
Sagan Tosu have maximum points from two games, Japan international Yohei Toyoda scoring in a 1-0 win away to Urawa Reds.
Vissel Kobe and Kashiwa Reysol shared a 1-1 draw, as did FC Tokyo and Ventforet Kofu.
In Saturday’s only evening fixture, Yasushi Endo scored twice as Kashima Antlers downed Vegalta Sendai 2-0.