Sanfrecce Hiroshima 1-0 Kashiwa Reysol: Superb Sato gives J-League champions first title of 2013

An aggressive Reysol side failed again to score with their experimental three-back formation four days before both teams were to open their continental campaigns
J-League champions Sanfrecce Hiroshima captured their second Japanese Super Cup on Saturday afternoon with a 1-0 victory over Emperor's Cup winners Kashiwa Reysol.

The lone goal of the match came on a superb aerial volley by Sanfrecce captain Hisato Sato in the 29th minute of play. Recent national team call-up Hiroki Mizumoto deftly deflected Toshihiro Aoyama's cross with a header to a waiting Sato, whose left-footed volley rocked the back of the net and brought the crowd of Tokyo's National Stadium to their feet.

The run of the match quickly shifted into Sanfrecce's favour, and Reysol quickly found themselves resorting to  physical defending in order to contain the league holders. The Purple Archers had several opportunities to extend their lead in the second half, and Sato narrowly missed a second goal on the day when another overhead kick was deftly handled by Reysol goalkeeper Takanori Sugeno.

Reysol, bolstered this off-season with the loan signing of Cleo from China's Guangzhou Evergrande, once again took the field with a 3-4-3 formation proposed by manager Nelsinho as a potential weapon in the Asian Champions League. But just like in last weekend's Chiba Gin Cup against prefectural rivals JEF Chiba United, the Sun Kings were held scoreless despite threatening on several set plays.

Both clubs will begin their ACL campaigns on Wednesday night; Reysol will travel to Guizhou Renhe while Sanfrecce host Bunyodkor. The J-League kicks off on Saturday, March 2, when Sanfrecce host Urawa Reds at Hiroshima Big Arch.