Soccer / J. League

Temma Matsuda nets first goal in top flight as Bellmare earn draw against Frontale


Temma Matsuda scored his first J. League first-division goal in Shonan Bellmare’s 1-1 draw against the defending champion Kawasaki Frontale on Friday.

The 22-year-old scored the equalizer in the 66th minute at Todoroki Stadium for Shonan, which was playing in its second league match since returning to Japan’s top flight.

For Bellmare, Brazilian defender Andre Bahia headed down a Hiroki Akino cross, and Matsuda controlled the ball before driving it home.

“I’m not satisfied with the match itself,” Matsuda said. “I’m really happy with the goal, but next time I want to score a goal as part of a victory.

“I was in front of the goal because I thought there may be a rebound, and that worked out well.”

After a slow start at home, Frontale took the lead in the 56th minute when Yu Kobayashi, last season’s top scorer, netted his first goal of the season.

Kobayashi, who was also named the league’s 2017 MVP, headed home a cross from midfielder Akihiro Ienaga. However, Frontale, who opened their campaign with a win over Jubilo Iwata on Sunday, missed several opportunities.

“The result of this match was frustrating, but we were able to demonstrate what we’ve been working on as a team,” Kawasaki manager Toru Oniki said. “There were opportunities where we could’ve scored, so I want to keep working on that during training.”

In other matches, Cerezo Osaka drew with visiting Consadole Sapporo 3-3, while Kashiwa Reysol defeated Yokohama F. Marinos 2-0.