HIROSHIMA - Teruhito Nakagawa’s 34th-minute goal lifted Yokohama F. Marinos to a 1-0 win over Sanfrecce Hiroshima on Friday.
The win at Edion Stadium Hiroshima lifted Marinos ahead of Sanfrecce in the table. The hosts entered the game third in the league and tied with league leader FC Tokyo for the fewest goals allowed with five, but allowed Marinos to score with their only shot of the first half.
The goal was the J1’s first since Japan’s new Reiwa Era began on Wednesday.
After the hosts coughed up possession, Marcos Junior received a pass in midfield with his strike partners ahead of him. Just as Nakagawa on the left and Keita Endo on the right broke for the goal, Nakagawa’s marker turned to see what the Brazilian was up to.
In that instant, Nakagawa darted past his defender and ran on to Marcos Junior’s through pass without breaking stride, setting up a one-on-one with ‘keeper Keisuke Osako. Nakagawa’s shot deflected off a Hiroshima defender.
“We were playing a short counter and my being able to push forward quickly contributed to the goal,” Nakagawa said. “I had my eye on the ‘keeper, kept my cool and was able to get the shot off.
“I hope it being the first of the era leads to something good.”
All through the first half, Marinos were able to hold onto the ball but struggled to get it out of midfield. Although Sanfrecce repeatedly got off shots in the first half, Yokohama’s defenders gave them little space to work with.
Hiroshima manager Hiroshi Jofuku did well to keep his cool in the match’s final minutes despite his obvious frustration with referee Takuto Okabe’s decisions.
In the final seconds, Hiroshima’s Hayao Kawabe headed in at the post. Goalkeeper Park Il-gyu failed to corral the ball with his first touch and it appeared on video to have rolled across the line inside the post before he could shove it out. But Okabe missed it.
“The players did what they needed to do,” Jofuku said. “We held them to one shot in the first half. Of course, there were other areas we could have improved on.
“There were two times where we got it in the net but failed to score, especially that one in additional time. From our standpoint those looked like goals, but I can’t say more than that.”
It was Sanfrecce’s third straight 1-0 loss.
Elsewhere, Luxembourg international Gerson Rodrigues scored in second-half stoppage time to lift the visiting Jubilo Iwata 1-0 over Urawa Reds. Two-time defending champion Kawasaki Frontale beat Vegalta Sendai 3-1 at home to move up to third place, level on points with second-place Nagoya Grampus, while Kashima Antlers topped Shimizu S-Pulse 3-0 at home.