Fernando Torres finally opened his J-League account with the third goal in Sagan Tosu‘s 3-0 home win over fellow strugglers Gamba Osaka on Sunday, as the Spaniard‘s team took the proverbial six-pointer in the relegation dogfight.
The former Atletico Madrid, Liverpool and Chelsea striker notched his first goal in Japan on Wednesday night, in a 3-0 Emperor‘s Cup win over Vissel Kobe, before scoring his first league goal in his seventh start in the league, adding the 86th-minute insurance goal after strikes from Yuji Ono and Mu Kanazaki had given Tosu a 2-0 lead.
The J-League kicked off the weekend on Friday night with a meeting between Kashima Antlers and Jubilo Iwata — scheduled to give the home team an extra day of rest before their Asian Champions League quarterfinal first leg on Tuesday — with an added-on time penalty kick from Yoshito Okubo salvaging an unlikely point for Jubilo in a 1-1 draw.
On Saturday in Osaka, league leaders Sanfrecce Hiroshima took a 19th-minute lead over Cerezo Osaka, and held on to remain six points ahead of Kawasaki Frontale in second place. The top team‘s closest challengers kept pace with a 1-0 home win over Vegalta Sendai, with Kengo Nakamura scoring the game‘s only goal.
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Star-laden Vissel Kobe, with Andres Iniesta and Lukas Podolski in the starting line-up, failed to finish numerous chances and lost 2-0 at home to Ange Postecoglou‘s relegation-threatened Yokohama F Marinos. Takefusa Kubo, the 17-year-old former Barcelona youngster, matched up against his former club-mate Iniesta and came out with a goal to help ease his new team‘s relegation worries.
Also pulling themselves further away from the bottom of the division on Sunday, Nagoya Grampus beat Urawa Reds 4-1 thanks to a hat trick from Brazilian forward Jo, who also missed a penalty.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo won away at Shimizu S-Pulse to end the weekend in fourth place while at the other end of the table Kashiwa Reysol, found their goalscoring touch with a 5-1 home win over bottom-placed V-Varen Nagasaki.
In the other game on Sunday, 3rd-placed FC Tokyo was held to a 0-0 draw away at Shonan Bellmare to fall further back of the top two.
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