• Kyodo


Tokyo Olympic hopeful Daizen Maeda netted twice as Yokohama F. Marinos salvaged a 3-3 draw against Sanfrecce Hiroshima in the J. League first-division on Sunday, leaving both teams winless after two games.

Marinos, who opened the season with a defeat to champion Kawasaki Frontale, gave away three first-half goals that all involved defensive errors, but well-taken efforts by former Maritimo forward Maeda spared their blushes before the home faithful at Nissan Stadium.

Sanfrecce was ahead within 13 minutes after Ezequiel was fouled in robbing Marinos defender Thiago Martins of the ball in the box, the penalty being converted by fellow Brazilian Junior Santos.

The forward, who scored 13 goals in 22 games at Marinos last season before joining Sanfrecce over the winter, was a constant menace up front and drew another foul that led to the visitors’ second in the 27th minute.

Sho Sasaki’s cross from the resulting free kick was half-cleared before Douglas Vieira’s first-time volley was fumbled by Marinos keeper Powell Obinna Obi, leaving Shunki Higashi to bundle home.

The home side halved the deficit in the 34th minute through speedster Maeda, who latched onto a floated ball behind the Hiroshima back line and spun away before calmly slotting past keeper Keisuke Osako.

“I’d heard their defense was not so quick so thought I could make the most of my strength, and I did well to score,” Maeda said.

But Sanfrecce restored the two-goal cushion with another penalty in first-half stoppage time. VAR ruled the ball hit defender Ken Matsubara’s raised right arm in a mix-up at a corner and Vieira converted from the spot.

The home side again fought back in the 54th minute when forward Onaiwu Ado controlled a cross in the box before hitting a half-volley on the turn, which went in via the hand of Osako and the post.

Marinos then equalized in the 67th minute after substitute Kota Watanabe did well to control the ball down the left flank before sending a cross for the 23-year-old Maeda to score with a diving header.

“We gave away unnecessary goals in the first half so I’m glad we at least could secure a draw,” said Maeda, who worked tirelessly with his defensive duties too before coming off in the 81st minute.

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