KAWASAKI – Marcus Tulio Tanaka gave Urawa Reds their first point of the 2005 campaign with the last touch of the game in a thrilling 3-3 draw away to newly promoted Kawasaki Frontale in the J. League first division on Saturday.
Second-half goals from Kazuki Ganaha and Augusto looked to have put Kawasaki on its way to its first victory in the top flight after a five-year absence.
But substitute Masayuki Okano set up a tense finale with a fine solo effort nine minutes from time before Brazilian-born defender Tanaka headed home a cross from Alessandro Santos in the fourth minute of injury time.
Saitama’s other club Omiya Ardija, which came up from the second division with Kawasaki, made it four points from two games as Chikara Fujimoto scored a penalty against his old club in the 1-1 draw with Vissel Kobe.
Juninho scored a last-gasp equalizer last Sunday to earn Kawasaki a point at Kashiwa Reysol but took just seven minutes to grab his second of the season in front of nearly 25,000 at Todoroki Stadium.
Ryota Tsuzuki was adjudged to have brought down the Brazilian as he raced through on goal and referee Tsutomu Anazawa wasted no time in pointing to the spot and handing the former Japan goalkeeper a yellow card for his troubles.
Tsuzuki almost made amends when he stopped a poor spot kick but Juninho reacted quickest to stab home the rebound and silence the swarms of traveling Urawa fans behind the goal.
Juninho continued to tease Urawa’s defense and should have double his side’s lead but lifted the ball just too high after pouncing on a glaring mistake from Japan international defender Keisuke Tsuboi.
Star striker Emerson looked off the pace as Urawa struggled to find its rhythm but it got back on level terms in the 22nd minute as Tomoyuki Sakai danced through the Kawasaki defense and lifted the ball over the helpless Seigo Shimokawa.
Kawasaki deservedly regained the advantage after the break when Okinawa-born striker Ganaha turned on a sixpence to drill home a Yasuhiro Nagahashi pass in the 53rd minute and Augusto made it 3-1 with a scorching free-kick 12 minutes later.
But Okano gave Urawa hope when he finished a dazzling run with aplomb to make it 3-2 before Tanaka scored an improbable equalizer to deny Kawasaki a shock victory.
Omiya pulled off the biggest shock of the opening round of matches by beating Gamba Osaka last week and battled back to earn a point after Naoto Sakurai, one of the heroes of last week’s victory, was sent off in the 76th minute.
Former Japan striker Kazuyoshi Miura scored his second of the campaign to put Vissel in front but Fujimoto gave his side a share of the spoils with an 84th-minute penalty.
Elsewhere, Fernando scored in the 80th minute as Kashima Antlers drew 2-2 with Gamba while Tokyo Verdy against Shimizu S-Pulse finished goalless.
In Saturday’s late game, Yuki Abe scored from the spot as JEF United Chiba came from behind to hold Kashiwa to a 2-2 draw in the Chiba derby.
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