KASHIWA, Chiba Pref. — Brazilian striker Davi halted Nagoya Grampus’ losing slide in dramatic style with an injury-time goal to give his side a 2-1 win over Kashiwa Reysol on Saturday.
Nagoya’s impressive start to the season had hit the rocks with two defeats in its previous two games, and a change in fortunes looked doubtful when Minoru Suganuma canceled out Davi’s first-half opener with a spectacular long-range effort at Hitachi Stadium.
But after a shot from Magnum cannoned off a Reysol defender with the match into its final minute, Davi pounced to notch his sixth goal of the season and earn the praise of manager Dragan Stojkovic for refusing to give up the chase.
“We lost two games in a row, and it was not so comfortable for us,” Stojkovic said. “We decided to play organized football to show our strong character and solidarity on the pitch.
“We didn’t think too much about defeat today, we just focused on how to get three points. The players responded in a fantastic way.
“They didn’t give up until the last minute and that wish and determination gave us a fantastic result today.”
Reysol goalkeeper Takanori Sugeno came to his side’s rescue with a smart reaction save from an early Yoshizumi Ogawa’s free kick, but there was nothing he could do to prevent Davi’s opening goal shortly after the half-hour mark.
Naoshi Nakamura released Ogawa down the right, and with Sugeno rushing from his goal, the midfielder had just enough time to lift the ball over for the waiting striker to head home.
Grampus continued to dictate the match, and Tadanari Lee did nothing to help Reysol’s chances of regaining a foothold when he headed a Suganuma cross over the bar from point-blank range.
But along with Lee’s embarrassment came a glimmer of hope that Kashiwa could fight its way back, and in the 60th minute Suganuma underlined the point in emphatic fashion.
The 23-year-old drove toward goal as a gap opened up, before ripping a ferocious shot that flew past Seigo Narazaki for the equalizer.
The goal unlocked the gates for a slew of chances at both ends, but it was Davi who made the decisive intervention when he reacted quickest to the loose ball to lash home with his weaker right foot.
“The late goal gives us an incredible feeling,” Stojkovic said. “This victory has huge importance for us.”
Victory would certainly have been appreciated by Reysol manager Shinichiro Takahashi, whose side has yet to win in six matches.
In the day’s other matches, a Pedro Junior hat trick wasn’t enough to give Albirex Niigata the win as Sanfrecce Hiroshima fought back to a 3-3 draw at Big Swan Stadium, while champions Kashima Antlers were held to a 0-0 stalemate at home to Yokohama F. Marinos.
Kawasaki Frontale came from behind to beat Omiya Ardija 3-1, Urawa Reds beat Kyoto Sanga 1-0, and JEF United Chiba secured their first win with a late turnaround to beat FC Tokyo 2-1.