Reds overcome Nagoya, Gamba beaten
Urawa Reds downed J.League champions Nagoya Grampus 3-0 with goals from Marcio Richardes, Tatsuya Tanaka and Genki Haraguchi.
Reds, under the guidance of new coach Zeljko Petrovic, started well as Brazilian forward Richardes, a new signing from Albirex Niigata, slotted home in the 12th minute.
Eleven minutes later, Reds made it 2-0 when Richardes latched on to a through ball from Yosuke Kashiwagi and fed Tanaka, who finished. Nagoya had chances late in the first half through Jungo Fujimoto, Joshua Kennedy and Kensuke Nagai but none could make the breakthrough.
Reds attacked after the break and Haraguchi saw a close-range effort in the 73rd minute denied by Nagoya goalkeeper Seigo Narazaki. Three minutes later, Nagoya's Australian forward Kennedy met a cross from the left but his close-range header went high over the bar.
Then Reds widened their lead in the 78th minute thanks to Haraguchi's individual efforts. The 19-year-old stole the ball from Nagoya defender Hayuma Tanaka and although his initial effort was blocked by Narazaki, Haraguchi was first to the rebound.
"I'm satisfied with our wonderful performance against a leading team of the J.League," Petrovic said of his side's first win at home. "I can tell that we are enjoying our game again and that I am happy about."
Nagoya coach Dragan Stojkovic said: "It was a very hard game for us. When I saw how we played, the result is very logical. We lost easy balls and couldn't control easy balls. For those technical mistakes, you have to pay the price and we paid the price.
"But I am not disappointed. I don't like to lose, of course, but this is just the beginning [of the season]. We have many games to play. I hope we can play much better than today."
Sanfrecce Hiroshima cruised past Gamba Osaka 4-1 at home. Japan forward Tadanari Lee put the hosts ahead in the opening minute with his left foot and midfielder Koji Morisaki curled in a free-kick ten minutes later.
In the 36th minute, Mihael Mikic made it 3-0 from Kazuyuki Morisaki's cross before forward Hisato Sato added the fourth in the 76th minute. Gamba pulled one goal back three minutes from time when substitute Shota Kawanishi headed home a Hayato Sasaki corner.
Albirex Niigata were held to a 1-1 draw by Jubilo Iwata as Choi Young-Chol's penalty in the fifth minute was cancelled out by Gilsinho in the 69th minute. Cerezo Osaka played out a goalless draw at Montedio Yamagata in the day's other game.