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KAWASAKI — Hisato Sato scored a brilliant hat trick in front of Japan coach Ivica Osim as Sanfrecce Hiroshima drew 3-3 away to Kawasaki Frontale in the J. League on Saturday.

News photo Antlers midfielder Fabio Santos (far right) celebrates with teammates after scoring the game’s first
goal in the 33rd minute against Cerezo Osaka at Nagai Stadium on Saturday night. The game ended in a 1-1
draw.
KYODO PHOTO

Sanfrecce’s Sato put himself in the frame for a place in the Japan team that plays Ghana on Wednesday by putting Hiroshima ahead three times in the match, but Frontale battled back each time to share the spoils at Todoroki Stadium.

Sato opened the scoring on 22nd minutes, although he didn’t know too much about it as a cross from the left bounced off his leg and into the net.

Fellow Japan international striker Kazuki Ganaha equalized for Frontale on 51 minutes with a close-range left-foot finish, but three minutes later Sato found space to slide the ball home.

Masaru Kurotsu leveled things for Frontale again on 64 minutes and Kengo Nakamura hit the post a minute later as it looked for a while as though the home side would finish stronger.

But Sato then powered in a header seconds later to turn the game once more in Sanfrecce’s favor, but not for long as Hiroyuki Taniguchi rifled home a brilliant left-foot shot on 69 minutes.

Watching national team coach Osim will have left hoping the impressive Sato and lively Ganaha can carry their form into the coming week’s friendly against African’s Ghana in Yokohama.

Kawasaki is in the third position in the J. League with 48 points from 24 matches, looking for more and more unlikely to win the league, while Sanfrecce languishes near the bottom with 27 point and still has relegation worries.

Elsewhere, Sota Hirayama’s first game as a FC Tokyo player didn’t go according to plan as his new club suffered an embarrassing 4-1 home defeat against Albirex Niigata.

The Athens Olympics striker recently arrived from Dutch club Heracles Almelo was involved in FC Tokyo’s opener by Nobuo Kawaguchi, but things went awry after that as Shingo Suzuki, Toshihiro Matsushita (2) and Edmilson condemned the Gasmen to their sixth straight defeat.

Yokohama F. Marinos also lost at home, going down 1-0 to Jubilo Iwata.

Later on Saturday, Urawa Reds rained offense on Kyoto Purple Sanga, coming away with a 5-1 win. JEF United Chiba doubled up Oita Trinita 2-1, Nagoya Grampus Eight was a 4-1 winner over Omiya Ardija and Cerezo Osaka drew Kashima Antlers 2-2.

On Sunday, Ventforet Kofu host Gamba Osaka and Shimizu S-Pulse are at home to Avispa Fukuoka.

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