Sapporo – Ryota Aoki scored his first goal in the J. League top flight before adding the winner as Consadole Sapporo came from behind to beat FC Tokyo 3-2 on Saturday.
The 25-year-old midfielder finished off a superb counter to level 2-2 four minutes into the second half before hitting the decider in the 64th minute at Sapporo Dome, assisted by a well-weighted chest down by veteran English forward Jay Bothroyd.
“I hadn’t been able to get myself involved in goals in league games at all, so it’s great to get the win and myself getting on the scoresheet,” said Aoki, who joined from Nagoya Grampus ahead of this season.
FC Tokyo took the lead two minutes into the entertaining encounter. Forward Adailton launched a counter from his own half before running into the box to receive a return ball from Leandro and dink the ball past keeper Takanori Sugeno to stun the home side.
Consadole had plenty of possession after that as their intricate passing kept the visitors on the back foot, and they finally got their reward in the 41st minute when Tsuyoshi Ogashiwa headed in a rebound after Takuro Kaneko cut in from the right and forced a save from visiting keeper Go Hatano.
But FC Tokyo’s two Brazilians combined again to restore the lead on the stroke of halftime in another well-worked counter. Leandro stole a loose ball in the opposition half and skipped past a defender before laying it off for Adailton, whose first touch set him up nicely to shoot high into the net.
Sapporo, however, continued their positive displays after the break, and Aoki capped off two fine team efforts.
The leveler arrived after an accurate long ball delivered from the back by Akito Fukumori, the defender’s pass in the air finding Ogashiwa’s run behind the Tokyo defense. The midfielder laid it off across the goal for Aoki, who tapped into the empty net.
The winner also left Tokyo with little chance to defend, with Fukumori’s cross in the air setting up an instinctive pass into the box by Bothroyd with Aoki again peeling away from his marker to poke home.
“(The first goal) was a typical Sapporo goal, one that we practice a lot,” Aoki said before thanking Bothroyd for the second. “I sort of felt it might come my way once the ball headed Jay’s direction, and it came where I was running into.”
FC Tokyo finally had an attacking spell with Tsuyoshi Watanabe’s volley from a corner, hitting a post and substitute Hirotaka Mita forcing a diving save from Sugeno, but Consadole held on to their second straight win while sending the visitors to their second consecutive defeat.
Leaders Kawasaki Frontale were held to a scoreless draw at Kashiwa Reysol, while Vegalta Sendai and Yokohama FC also ended 0-0.
Ataru Esaka scored the winning penalty as Urawa Reds beat third-place Sagan Tosu 2-1 at home.
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