Hiroki Sakai, Ataru Esaka power Urawa to comeback win against Tokyo

Kyosuke Tagawa wanted simply 36 seconds to place FC Tokyo on the board on Saturday.

it wasn’t sufficient to thrust back the darkish clouds hanging over the crew — each actually and figuratively — because it fell 2-1 to Urawa Reds, with Hiroki Sakai and Ataru Esaka’s objectives giving the guests an important three factors within the chase for a berth in subsequent yr’s Asian Champions League.

“It was a really tough recreation,” Urawa supervisor Ricardo Rodriguez mentioned of the crew’s first win towards Tokyo because the 2018 season. “Though they scored first we have been in a position to take management and earn possibilities.

“It was an enormous shock to surrender that purpose, however the gamers stood again up and carried out effectively.”

The 22-year-old Tagawa’s effort, which got here on the finish of a wonderfully positioned Masato Morishige move from deep within the backfield, tied him with former striker Yoshinori Muto for the membership’s quickest purpose since Stats Carry out started monitoring J. League statistics in 2015.

“I believed a ball would possibly come my method,” Tagawa mentioned. “I’ve struggled with ending and I feel the purpose was a results of what I’ve been training.”

It was a good way to begin the sport for Tokyo supporters left pissed off and scandalized by mercurial attacker Leandro’s five-game suspension after he was proven pink for elbowing Nagoya defender Shinnosuke Nakatani within the face throughout Wednesday’s 1-1 draw.

Leandro’s standard attacking companions, fellow Brazilians Diego Oliveira and Adailton, began on the bench in favor of Tagawa, Kensuke Nagai and Ryoma Watanabe, whose excessive urgent gave the Urawa again line all they might deal with over an intense first half however was unable to supply a follow-up.

Urawa had its personal share of possibilities and it was defender Sakai who snuck previous Japan teammate Yuto Nagatomo on the fitting flank to poke within the equalizer as first-half stoppage time started. The purpose, initially flagged offside, was confirmed after a two-minute video evaluate.

“I’d have appreciated to have celebrated it correctly however VAR took time,” Sakai mentioned of his first J. League purpose since March 2012. “My mistake led to Tokyo’s opening purpose so it was necessary for me to attain the equalizer.”

Tokyo continued to push for a second go-ahead purpose because the second half started, and it almost got here within the 61st minute when a Tagawa header struck the crossbar.

But it surely was as a substitute Urawa who accomplished the comeback simply 5 minutes later, when Tokyo goalkeeper Go Hatano dove to save lots of Takahiro Sekine’s blistering shot, solely to see it hit the woodwork and rebound to a wide-open Esaka whose solely remaining process was to goal between the posts.

“I may have completed extra tactically to assist us earn a greater outcome, so I really feel liable for the loss and don’t suppose it was the fault of the gamers,” mentioned Tokyo supervisor Kenta Hasegawa, who celebrated his 56th birthday on Saturday. “The gamers have been drained with so many video games in such a brief interval however they ran laborious till the tip.”

The win put Urawa stage at 54 factors with fourth-place Nagoya, which has additionally performed 30 video games, and third-place Vissel Kobe, which has a recreation in hand. In its first yr underneath Rodriguez, the crew is trying to safe its first ACL look since ending runner-up in 2019.

“What’s necessary just isn’t worrying about our opponent’s rank and as a substitute specializing in our efficiency,” Rodriguez mentioned. “We’re attempting to enhance our crew in loads of methods and thru that we will enhance our place within the standings.”

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