HIROSHIMA – Sanfrecce Hiroshima held on for a 3-2 win over Kawasaki Frontale in the J. League first division Wednesday following a furious late comeback from the visitors.
Sanfrecce stunned the two-time defending champions by taking a 3-0 lead through goals from Sho Sasaki, Douglas Vieira and Hayato Araki, but Frontale forwards Yu Kobayashi and Leandro Damiao struck back late to ensure a suspenseful ending.
The loss at Edion Stadium Hiroshima was just the second of the season and first away from home for Toru Oniki’s men, who climbed back into the top three with a 3-1 win over Oita Trinita on Saturday.
The win, meanwhile, gave a much-needed jolt of momentum to Hiroshi Jofuku’s side, which had drawn three of its past four matches.
Japan left-back Sasaki opened the scoring in the fourth minute from a set piece, gathering Tsukasa Morishima’s low, curling corner before firing past Frontale keeper Jung Sung-ryong from close range.
Vieira doubled the lead with a header from the right of the box in the 23rd minute, angling his shot inside the opposite post after beating the defense to a cross from the left by Morishima.
Frontale captain Kobayashi created a chance late in the half, holding off Sasaki as he collected a cross and laid off to Hidemasa Morita, but the midfielder fired over the bar.
Sanfrecce defender Akira Ibayashi prevented a Frontale goal shortly before halftime, just managing to cut off a cross from Akihiro Ienaga as Tatsuya Hasegawa was set to pounce at the back post.
Araki added Hiroshima’s third from a set piece seven minutes after the break. Frontale defender Kazuaki Mawatari was first to the free kick from Morishima, but his headed clearance was intercepted in the middle of the area by Kosei Shibasaki, who sent a header that was nodded in from directly in front by Araki.
Kobayashi struck in the 75th minute. The Frontale captain, who has scored in three straight games, netted from the left of the area following a one-two pass with Damiao.
Damiao scored three minutes later, heading in from directly in front after beating a pair of defenders to a cross from Hasegawa.
Hasegawa missed a chance to equalize in the 87th minute, sending his shot wide across goal after receiving a through-ball at the corner of the six-yard box from Kobayashi.
In the night’s other J1 match, Urawa Reds forward Shinzo Koroki scored late to salvage a 1-1 draw against Kashima Antlers after Sho Ito had put the visitors ahead in the 77th minute.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5