Nagoya get winning start, Kashima beaten

Australian international striker Joshua Kennedy scored a penalty to give Nagoya Grampus a 1-0 win over Shimizu S-Pulse in the J.League season-opener today. Defender Shohei Abe was brought down in the area, prompting the referee to award a penalty which Kennedy converted around the half hour mark.

Nagoya had to replace Japan international forward Keiji Tamada, midfielders Jungo Fujimoto and Naoshi Nakamura because of injuries in the second half, but they kept Shimizu at bay. "I was able to hit the penalty shot calmly. I'm glad that my goal gave us a win... but rather than that, I want to help the team win for three points," said Kennedy.

2009 champions Kashima Antlers lost their opener, while Urawa Red Diamonds and Gamba Osaka also failed to win their under new coaches. Kashima lost to Vegalta Sendai 1-0 as Taikai Uemoto nodded home near the hour mark.

Japan international striker Hisato Sato scored the only goal after Urawa goalkeeper Nobuhiro Kato parried a shot into his path as Sanfrecce Hiroshima won by a single goal. Gamba Osaka, who went down 3-0 to South Korea's Pohang Steelers in the AFC Champions League opener on Tuesday, again conceded three goals in losing to Vissel Kobe 3-2.

FC Tokyo, who were promoted from the second division, got off to a great start as they defeated Omiya Ardija 1-0 with Brazilian forward Lucas scoring the only goal in the 61st minute. Omiya had a chance to equalise towards the end, but Yu Hasegawa's shot from close range hit goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda's arm.

The other two new clubs - Sagan Tosu and Consadole Sapporo - were held to goalless draws by Cerezo Osaka and Jubilo Iwata, respectively, while Kawasaki Frontale defeated Albirex Niigata 1-0.