Brazilian striker Washington netted his second league goal of the season to salvage a point for Tokyo Verdy in a 2-2 draw with JEF United Chiba in the J. League first division on Sunday.
Verdy found itself two goals down after just 16 minutes in an entertaining match at Ajinomoto Stadium but Daigo Kobayashi reduced the deficit with a sweet volley and Washington’s penalty rounded off the scoring in the 28th minute.
The result, however, meant Verdy missed out on a chance to stay among the early leaders after three matches.
FC Tokyo, Kashima Antlers, Omiya Ardija all have seven points from three games, Yokohama F Marinos have six while Verdy has five. Chiba has three after its third straight draw.
In the day’s other game, Japan striker Masashi Oguro scored twice to help give Gamba Osaka its first win of the season after edging visiting Kawasaki Frontale 3-2.
Chiba strolled in the spring sunshine for the first 15 minutes in Chofu, western Tokyo, and took just 65 seconds to draw first blood through Seiichiro Maki.
Austrian international Mario Haas fed Masataka Sakamoto on the left flank and the 27-year-old whipped over a low cross to give Maki the simplest of finishes.
Verdy struggled to contain the lively Haas, who orchestrated Chiba’s second when he dispossessed Atsushi Yoneyama to set up Athens Olympic midfielder Yuki Abe for the second.
Kobayashi sparked Verdy’s comeback in the 24th minute with a volley from a tight angle and Washington leveled from the spot four minutes later after he had been brought down by Chiba goalkeeper Ryo Kushino.
However, Chiba should have been home and dry with another three goals in the bag by the 50th minute but failed to capitalize on more chaotic defending from the home side.
Naotake Hanyu twice lost his nerve in one-on-ones with Verdy goalkeeper Yoshinari Takagi in first-half stoppage time and then again in the 47th minute, while Daisuke Saito should have punished Takagi for fumbling a Hanyu cross.
At Expo Stadium, Oguro twice gave Gamba the lead with goals in the seventh and 69th minutes but the home side needed a last-gasp winner from Satoshi Yamaguchi to hold off a fightback from Kawasaki, which is still looking for its first win of the season.
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