• Kyodo


Sanfrecce Hiroshima extended their winning start in the J. League by beating Urawa Reds 2-1 away on Sunday.

Sho Inagaki scored the winner for Hiroshima in the 79th minute at Saitama Stadium, pouncing on Tomoaki Makino’s poor clearance in the penalty area 13 minutes after Kosei Shibasaki had equalized for the visitors.

“Urawa took the lead, so the match didn’t go in line with our original plan,” said Inagaki. “But the fact that we didn’t concede again and came back to win shows we are improving.”

Sanfrecce won their season opener last weekend, defeating Consadole Sapporo 1-0 at Edion Stadium.

Hiroshima manager Hiroshi Jofuku said the team is off to a good start but has things it has to work on ahead of Saturday’s match against Kashima Antlers.

“It was a challenging match, but the players did really well,” Jofuku said. “There were times when we almost let Urawa score again, so it’s important to reflect on that.

“We did a nice job in coming from behind in the second half, so we have to be able to play like that for the entire 90 minutes.”

Takuya Aoki put Urawa ahead shortly before halftime, but Reds missed out on several chances to score again despite their superior possession.

Slovenian forward Zlatan Ljubijankic got his head to a cross from Aoki in the 77th minute, but was foiled by Hiroshima keeper Takuto Hayashi, and 10 minutes later Kosuke Taketomi hit the post.

Reds manager Takafumi Hori said, “We couldn’t pull ourselves together after conceding two goals. I just want to concentrate on our upcoming matches.”

Urawa kicked off its campaign last weekend with a draw against FC Tokyo and will face V-Varen Nagasaki on Saturday.

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