OSAKA – Sagan Tosu snatched an improbable 2-1 comeback victory against Cerezo Osaka in the J. League’s first division Sunday following late goals from veteran forward Yohei Toyoda and debutant Daichi Hayashi.
Making his first J. League appearance as a late substitute, 22-year-old Hayashi scored in the 88th minute to cancel out Hiroaki Okuno’s opener, before Toyoda delivered the winner in the fifth minute of injury time.
With the upset, Sagan ended Cerezo’s unbeaten streak at Yanmar Stadium at six games, while gaining vital momentum in its bid to escape the relegation zone.
Kim Myung-hwi’s side received a big boost with the 60th-minute introduction of attacker Tiago Alves, who assisted on both of his team’s goals.
Okuno put Cerezo ahead with a thundering strike off a set piece in the 19th minute.
Fernando Torres was first to Naoyuki Fujita’s corner kick, but his clearing header traveled only as far as Okuno, who belted a half volley from the left of the arc, giving Sagan keeper Yohei Takaoka no chance.
Okuno went close again in the 56th minute, but his deflected shot from the edge of the area was stopped by a diving Takaoka.
The goalkeeper produced another excellent save to deny Bruno Mendes from close range in the 80th minute.
With time ticking away, Alves won a corner with a long-range shot that forced a diving save from Cerezo keeper Kim Jin-hkyeon.
The Brazilian winger then delivered two successive corner kicks from the right that were sent back out for corners by the Cerezo defense.
On his third straight corner kick, he found Hayashi, who flew in at the back post to head home the equalizer.
With only seconds left, Alves gathered a long clearing kick from Takaoka, then played a through ball for 82nd-minute substitute Toyoda to stroke the winner from the left of the area.
Kim praised his players for their perseverance on a sweltering evening in Osaka.
“Even in this heat, the players kept fighting right to the end. They created chances not only through their hard work, but by continually pushing forward,” Kim said.
In the day’s other J1 clash, Shonan Bellmare defeated last-place Jubilo Iwata 3-2 at Yamaha Stadium, with the visitors scoring all three of their goals in the second half.