HIROSHIMA – A second-half brace from super sub Patric helped Sanfrecce Hiroshima to beat visiting Yokohama F. Marinos 3-1 Wednesday night and maintain their lead at the top of the J. League table.
Having entered with the score tied 1-1 midway through the second half, the big Brazilian bagged a poacher’s goal in the 79th minute before doubling the lead in the final minute of regulation at Edion Stadium with a spectacular long-distance strike.
Running full tilt while leading a counterattack, the 189-cm forward chipped Marinos goalkeeper Hiroki Iikura from 25 meters out after spotting the custodian off his goal line.
“While I was watching from the bench, I couldn’t believe how far the keeper was coming off his line, so I decided I’d have a shot if the opportunity arose. I’m glad it went in,” said the 30-year-old striker, who missed much of last season with a cruciate ligament injury.
The goal capped a nightmare outing for Iikura, who spilled a shot by Sanfrecce winger Yoshifumi Kashiwa to tee up Patric’s first.
Amid a busy slate of league and cup matches, Sanfrecce manager Hiroshi Jofuku made six changes to the starting eleven that beat Kashiwa Reysol 1-0 on Sunday.
Among the additions was 19-year-old central midfielder Taishi Matsumoto, making his J. League debut after playing the full 90 minutes in each of Sanfrecce’s three league cup matches.
Having built their league-best record behind a stingy defense, Sanfrecce gave Marinos few openings in the first half, despite the visitors enjoying the bulk of possession.
Marinos took the lead from the penalty spot in the 41st minute after Sho Sasaki pushed over Kosuke Nakamachi inside the box. Hugo Vieira sent goalkeeper Takuto Hayashi the wrong way to convert the spot kick.
Thailand international Teerasil Dangda leveled the score from the spot five minutes into the second after being felled by defender Ryosuke Yamanaka.
The win moved Sanfrecce to 19 points, five ahead of second-placed Vegalta Sendai, who held on for a 3-2 away win over Nagoya Grampus after being reduced to 10 men with two minutes of regulation time remaining.
FC Tokyo climbed to third place with a 2-1 win at home over Kashima Antlers, while Cerezo Osaka moved to fourth with a 2-1 win over Kawasaki Frontale, who fell out of the top three and into fifth place.
Urawa Reds recorded their second-straight win under new manager Tsuyoshi Otsuki, beating Vissel Kobe 3-2 on the road.
An injury-time winner from Ken Tokura saw Consadole Sapporo beat visiting Shonan Bellmare 1-0. First half goals from Kim Bo-kyung and Hiroto Nakagawa propelled visiting Kashiwa Reysol to a 2-1 victory over Sagan Tosu.
At the bottom of the table, Gamba Osaka secured their first win of the season, beating visiting Jubilo Iwata 2-0, as V-Varen Nagasaki also opened their account with a 1-0 victory away to Shimizu S-Pulse.