• Kyodo


Sanfrecce Hiroshima clawed their way to a 1-1 draw against J. League first-division leader Kawasaki Frontale on Sunday, with Tsukasa Morishima equalizing midway through the second half to cancel out Akihiro Ienaga’s opener.

The stalemate at Kawasaki’s Todoroki Stadium snapped a four-game winning streak for undefeated J1 champion Frontale, who failed to take three points for just the second time this season.

Toru Oniki’s side looked destined for their fifth straight win following a stifling first-half defensive performance in which they prevented Hiroshima from making a single attempt on goal.

Ienaga opened the scoring in the 38th minute for the hosts, who squandered a number of chances among their 14 first-half shots, seven of which were on target.

The 2018 J. League MVP finished off a counterattack with a clinical strike from the right of the area after Leandro Damiao stepped over a square ball from Yasuto Wakizaka.

Kaoru Mitoma appeared to extend the lead early in the second half when he tapped in at the back post, but the goal was ruled out for offside following a video review.

Hiroshima picked up their game in the second half and equalized in the 65th minute when Morishima fired in off the rebound after Junior Santos hit the upright following a storming run into the box.

“I’m happy with the way we defended. It led to us being able to score on the counter,” said Morishima, who opened his account for the season. “The goal practically belonged to Santos, so I’m very grateful to him.”

The draw ended a two-game skid for Hiroshi Jofuku’s Hiroshima side, who were unbeaten through their first eight league matches.

“After two straight defeats, this was a game we were determined not to lose,” Morishima said.

In other J1 action, Daichi Hayashi and Noriyoshi Sakai struck first-half goals as visiting Sagan Tosu handed second-place Nagoya Grampus their first loss of the season in a 2-1 win.

Cerezo Osaka edged visiting Urawa Reds 1-0 after Yusuke Maruhashi broke the deadlock in the 66th minute at Yanmar Stadium.

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