SAITAMA – Sanfrecce Hiroshima broke out of its scoring doldrums in a 4-0 trouncing of Urawa Reds in the J. League first division on Sunday.
After scoring once in five straight J1 losses, Sanfrecce scored three times on Wednesday in the Asian Champions League, the first time the three-time domestic champions had scored more than one goal in over a month. That carried over into the league on Saturday in a clinical effort away.
Reds were denied the first goal at Saitama Stadium by the post only for the visitors to score in the sixth minute.
From the very start, however, Sanfrecce displayed superior organization and timing in attack and defense, keeping Urawa under constant pressure.
After some aggressive play in midfield deprived the hosts of the ball, a well-coordinated attack resulted in a Reds defender heading the ball off his own post only for Tsukasa Morishima to blast home the rebound.
“Urawa was pushing forward from the start, and we were thinking we could find space and exploit that,” Morishima said. “I saw space (in front of the goal), sprinted toward it and was ready when the ball spilled my way and I just put it in.”
Douglas Vieira doubled Sanfrecce’s lead in the 25th minute when he headed in a corner kick and Brazilian Rhayner opened second-half scoring with a clinical 63rd-minute goal. In a well-executed buildup, Morishima’s through pass unleashed Rhayner down the right.
In a one-on-one with keeper Shusaku Nishikawa, Rhayner’s first shot was blocked but not caught and he fired home the rebound.
Daiki Watari completed the scoring in the 80th minute when he finished off another crisply executed attack. On a cross from the right, Nishikawa and two defenders paid full attention to Yoshifumi Kashiwa at the near post, only for the ball to go to Watari unmarked at the far post for an easy tap in.
Vissel Kobe snapped a string of nine straight losses in the league and league cup with a 4-1 home victory over Shonan Bellmare behind a brace from Wellington. The win moved Vissel out of the relegation zone.
Two-time defending league champion Kawasaki Frontale won 1-0 at promoted Oita Trinita to move into second place, four points behind leader FC Tokyo. Nagoya Grampus, 1-0 losers at home to promoted Matsumoto Yamaga, are third, two points further back and ahead of Trinita and fifth-place Yokohama F Marinos on goal difference.
Edigar Junio scored a late brace as Marinos beat Jubilo Iwata 4-0 at home. Sagan Tosu, meanwhile, defeated Kashima Antlers 1-0 at home on Yohei Toyoda’s 94th-minute goal.