Holder Oita Trinita ground out an ugly 0-0 draw against Omiya Ardija on Sunday while Urawa Reds picked up their first points in Group A by beating Yokohama F. Marinos 1-0 in the Nabisco Cup.
Oita was reduced to 10 men when Yasuhito Morishima was handed a straight red on 38 minutes at Kyushu Oil Dome, and the home side suffered another blow with Yoshiaki Fujita’s dismissal midway through the second half.
At Nissan Stadium, Robson Ponte grabbed the winner four minutes before halftime, converting from the penalty spot after Genki Haraguchi had been sent tumbling in the box.
In Group B, last year’s beaten finalist Shimizu S-Pulse opened its campaign with a 2-0 win over Kyoto Sanga, while Yohei Otake’s goal proved enough to give FC Tokyo a 1-0 win over Vissel Kobe.
Kashiwa Reysol leads Group B after a 1-1 draw at local rival JEF United Chiba.
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