HIROSHIMA - Diego Oliveira continued his scoring streak with a second-half winner, as FC Tokyo beat Sanfrecce Hiroshima 1-0 in Friday night’s top-of-the-table clash in the J. League first division.
At Edion Stadium Hiroshima, the Brazilian forward found the net for a fourth game running as FC Tokyo earned top spot and the mantle of the only undefeated club in the competition.
Kenta Hasegawa’s side looked to hit on the counter as it limited the attacking opportunities for Sanfrecce, who came into the contest leading FC Tokyo on goal difference.
Following a cagey start by both teams, FC Tokyo had the first chance from a counterattack inside 19 minutes when Kento Hashimoto hit the post with a deflected shot inside the area.
They threatened again late in the half when Ryoya Ogawa picked out Kotaro Omori with a high ball into the box, but the midfielder headed over the bar.
Yojiro Takahagi failed to punish a Hiroshima defensive mistake, hitting the side netting after intercepting an attempted clearance in the box.
Hiroshi Jofuku’s men finished a lackluster first half without producing a corner kick or shot on target.
Oliveira struck with 17 minutes left in regulation after FC Tokyo pounced on a mistake by Japan wingback Sho Sasaki.
As the hosts tried to repel a counterattack, Sasaki misdirected a header, allowing Omori to win possession and play a short pass to the advancing Oliveira.
The Brazilian drove a low shot past goalkeeper Keisuke Osako from the edge of the box with his first touch.
Sanfrecce striker Daiki Watari came within inches of a spectacular stoppage-time equalizer, rattling the bar with a volley after a clearance floated to him at the top of the penalty arc.
Oliveira moved into joint first place atop the scoring table with his sixth goal of the campaign.
“I’m really happy to score and help the team. But it wouldn’t have mattered who scored, as long as we got the win,” said Oliveira, who made a full transfer this year after playing last season on loan from Kashiwa Reysol.
“It was a really tough game tonight, but we came here knowing it was going to be that way. Maybe it wasn’t the best game, but neither team wanted to lose.”
In the night’s other J1 match, Hiroyuki Abe and Kei Chinen scored before halftime as Kawasaki Frontale beat visiting Shonan Bellmare 2-0.
Following a slow start, Frontale move into fifth place with three wins and a draw from their past four league outings.