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Sato fires Sanfrecce past Hollyhock

Kyodo

Captain Hisato Sato scored the lone goal in the first half as Sanfrecce Hiroshima defeated Mito Hollyhock 1-0 to reach the last 16 of the Emperor’s Cup on Wednesday.

The game at Edion Stadium was a makeup for the Aug. 20 tie that was postponed because of the recent deadly mudslides. Flags at the ground were flown at half-mast and the players wore black armbands to honor the victims.

Sanfrecce will face Gamba Osaka in the next round on Sept. 10.

Finalists last season, two-time defending J. League champion Hiroshima went in front after 25 minutes, when former MVP Sato — who had not played in the last three league games — struck on the counterattack.

Despite missing the bulk of their first team, Sanfrecce dominated the affair against Hollyhock, who are 14th in the second division, almost 40 points out of first place.