SAITAMA – Hiroshi Morita’s second-half strike saw unfashionable Omiya Ardija claim local bragging rights with a shock 1-0 win away to the J. League-leading Urawa Reds on Saturday.
Eight at Mizuho Stadium on Saturday evening.
Omiya belied its lowly status in a tightly fought derby at Saitama Stadium 2002 and Morita’s goal was just reward for a blood-and-guts performance that earned the visitor three precious points in its bid to beat the drop.
Urawa saw its four-point lead sliced to one as in-form Brazilian striker Bare made it five goals in two games with a hat trick to power second-placed Gamba Osaka to a 4-1 win at Nagoya Grampus Eight.
Champion Urawa was limited to a handful of half chances from fleet-footed striker Tatsuya Tanaka and after a spell of sustained pressure, Omiya deservedly went in front in the 61st minute when Morita collected an inviting pass from Leandro and coolly slotted past Reds ‘keeper Ryota Tsuzuki.
The Reds went close to drawing level 13 minutes from time as Marcus Tulio Tanaka hit the crossbar and then saw a header flash just wide of the post but Omiya held firm to record its first win under new manager Satoru Sakuma.
“Obviously we are delighted to get the three points and very happy to have won them in a local derby,” said match-winner Morita.
“We played with a lot of spirit and that won’t end here. We want to give the coach more presents by continuing winning.”
Urawa manager Holger Osieck was quick to compliment Ardija after his side lost only its second league game of the campaign.
“Omiya played like their whole season depended on it and if they played like that all the time then they would not be in the position they are in at the moment,” said Osieck.
“We have been winning at home and have also gone to places like Gamba and won. Not only have we been collecting points, we’ve also played quality soccer. We hit the bar and went close a few times today but sometimes these things happen,” shrugged the German.
Third-from bottom Omiya moved within a point of safety behind Oita Trinita, which faces Ventforet Kofu in a relegation battle Sunday.
However, bottom club Yokohama FC’s relegation fears increased after it was condemned to a 2-1 defeat at home to Sanfrecce Hiroshima, Ueslei bagging his 15th and 16th goals of the season for the visitor.
Back at the top of the table, third-placed Kashima Antlers bounced back from Wednesday’s 5-1 drubbing at Gamba to stay in the title race as Takuya Nozawa’s opener set up a 4-1 thrashing of visiting Kawasaki Frontale.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.