• Kyodo

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Yuya Asano’s scuffed volley on the stroke of half time proved to be the winner as Sanfrecce Hiroshima beat struggling Shonan Bellmare 1-0 on Sunday, moving up to eighth in the J. League first division.

Asano, the younger brother of former Arsenal striker Takuma Asano, currently at Partizan Belgrade, did not have the cleanest strike as he met a Sho Sasaki cross from the left at the far post but had enough to squeeze it through the arms of opposing goalkeeper Kosei Tani at Edion Stadium Hiroshima.

It was the second goal of the season for the 23-year-old, whose header hit the post 10 minutes earlier. Brazilian striker Leandro Pereira also saw an audacious effort from the half-way line denied by the post in the closing stages for Sanfrecce, who secured their second straight win.

A third straight defeat for Bellmare leaves them at the bottom of the table after one win from their first nine fixtures. There will be no relegation this season across the J. League in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Cerezo Osaka dominated FC Tokyo in the day’s other game but settled for a point after playing out a goalless draw at Yanmar Stadium. Cerezo is third on 18 points, seven behind leader Kawasaki Frontale.

Tatsuhiro Sakamoto had the host’s best chance, his volley off a cross from former Sevilla man Hiroshi Kiyotake saved by Tokyo keeper Go Hatano, in his J1 debut, from point-blank range after 11 minutes.

Leandro and Taichi Hara both went close for the visitors with stoppage-time headers but failed to break the deadlock. The capital city side are sixth on 15 points.

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