SAITAMA – Sentimental favorite Chapecoense lost 1-0 to the Urawa Reds after a controversially awarded penalty in Tuesday’s Suruga Bank Championship.
Urawa won the penalty two minutes to time, when Zlatan Ljubijankic was brought down by Chapecoense captain Grolli much to the objection of the Brazilian visitors.
Reds skipper Yuki Abe converted for the lone goal at Saitama Stadium.
More than eight months after a plane crash killed all but three of their players and 25 team officials, Chapecoense arrived in Japan for the annual midsummer one-off pitting the J. League cup holder and the Copa Sudamericana champion.
In November, 71 of the 77 passengers aboard a flight for the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana were killed as the plane crashed into the mountains near Medellin, Colombia.
Five of the victims had J. League experience, including the manager, Caio Junior, who coached Vissel Kobe in 2009.
Chapecoense’s current squad feature two former J. League players: Moises Ribeiro (Avispa Fukuoka, 2015) and Apodi (Tokyo Verdy, 2011).