Both Sanfrecce Hiroshima and FC Tokyo have suffered setbacks in the MEIJI YASUDA J1 League title race as Andres Iniesta and Fernando Torres made their first starts.
In a game week that saw three games postponed, leaders Sanfrecce Hiroshima were shocked 4-1 at home by Urawa Reds as Shinzo Koroki’s brace, Tomoya Ugajin and Fabricio struck for the resurgent visitors.
It ruined Sanfrecce’s hopes of increasing their lead at the top of the table after Tokyo suffered a 1-0 home reverse to V-Varen Nagasaki the day before on Friday.
There was no such upset for Iniesta in his first start for Vissel Kobe, as the former Barcelona legend shrugged off the intense heat to help his side see off Kashiwa Reysol 1-0 thanks to Asahi Masuyama’s winner.
Despite similarly starting, Torres was unable to find the breakthrough for Sagan Tosu as they hosted Jubilo Iwata in a 0-0 stalemate; Gamba Osaka likewise being unable to overcome Kashima Antlers in a 1-1 result.
Yusuke Maruhashi’s 94th-minute equaliser ensured Cerezo Osaka escaped with a 2-2 draw at Vegalta Sendai, while Nagoya Grampus versus Consadole Sapporo, Yokohama F. Marinos versus Shimizu S-Pulse and Shonan Bellmare versus Kawasaki Frontale will be played at later dates following typhoon warnings.