Kashiwa, Chiba Pref. – With fans increasingly calling for change after five straight losses in the J. League’s first division, FC Tokyo manager Kenta Hasegawa went into Saturday’s game away at Kashiwa Reysol knowing that another loss would likely leave him in the hot seat.
He needn’t worry for now after his Tokyo side struck early and often in a 4-0 win at Sankyo Frontier Stadium in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, with Brazilian striker Adailton assisting the first goal before scoring the next two — all within an eight-minute span that helped to seal the visitors’ first league victory since April 7.
“It’s special to get a first win in a while,” Hasegawa said. “After losing to Kashima, we saw that if we didn’t play well on the ball we wouldn’t be able to accomplish anything.
“It isn’t that we did one particular thing (better), it’s that we continued to work on improving and that the players continued to correct their play. Today showed that our efforts haven’t been wasted — everyone believed in themselves.”
Kashiwa struggled to stop Tokyo striker Adailton on the left side, and the Brazilian created and assisted the opening goal when he drew out Reysol goalkeeper Kim Sun-gyu and lofted a cross to fellow countryman Diego Oliveira for an easy header.
Adailton scored Tokyo’s second goal just minutes later from midfielder Takahiro Ogihara’s deft assist behind the Reysol back line, and another less than a minute later after taking advantage of a turnover and leaving his marker in the dust.
“I’m glad we were able to score early today,” Adailton said. “Takahagi sent a great pass and I was able to get the goal.
“We’ve been very disappointed about not being able to win recently and we haven’t had enough confidence, but I think we’ve regained it with this result.”
Reysol’s defense eventually coalesced after the first-half water break, allowing an attack led by Japan international Ataru Esaka to create numerous chances on goal in hopes of mounting comeback. But Tokyo maintained a clean sheet through a strong performance by Tokyo netminder Go Hatano and a back line that held firm after surrendering 13 goals during their losing run.
With the game well in hand, substitutes Kensuke Nagai and Hirotaka Mita teamed up for Tokyo’s final goal, with Mita first setting up forward Nagai with a long feed before blitzing into position to score off a cross after Nagai deftly weaved around the Reysol defender.
The result left Kashiwa without a win in its last five games across all competitions and just five points above the four-team relegation zone.
“We started the game very poorly, I don’t know where the players’ heads were at,” Reysol manager Nelsinho Baptista said. “We made a lot of mistakes.
“In the second half … we created chances but couldn’t make anything of them.”
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.