• Kyodo


Shu Hiramatsu scored a 50th-minute header and promoted V-Varen Nagasaki held on for a 1-0 victory over Kashiwa Reysol in the J. League first division on Sunday.

Despite conceding the bulk of possession to Reysol at Transcosmos Stadium Nagasaki, the hosts defended well and Hiramatsu put his head to a free kick, bounced it at keeper Kosuke Nakamura’s feet and into the net.

“Shogo delivered an amazing ball there and the instant I saw it, I thought I might score,” Hiramatsu said of his first goal in J1. “As a forward, goals are expected of you. My strong point is finding a way to push forward and today felt I was able to do that.”

The win was V-Varen’s third straight in the league, with the last two coming at home. They are now 11th in the table on 11 points, 14 behind leaders Sanfrecce Hiroshima. Reysol are also on 11 points but lead V-Varen on goal difference.

The hosts were put under pressure for most of the game and spent most of the second half camped in their own half, unable to do much other than clear the ball and set up for another attack.

Reysol’s last good chance came in injury time, when Park Jeong-su headed just wide of the far post and the stadium breathed a sigh of relief.

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