J-League Review: FC Tokyo, Kashiwa Reysol stage dramatic late comebacks

In a round filled with lopsided scorelines, two of Japan's three representatives in the Asian Champions League knockout stage produced stunning come-from-behind victories
By Dan Orlowitz


Yokohama F. Marinos 0-0 Gamba Osaka, Sanfrecce Hiroshima 3-2 Vissel Kobe, Albirex Niigata 1-6 Jubilo Iwata, Urawa Reds 1-0 Shimizu S-Pulse, Omiya Ardija 0-2 Kawasaki Frontale, Kashima Antlers 7-0 Consadole Sapporo, Vegalta Sendai 4-0 Nagoya Grampus, Cerezo Osaka 1-2 Kashiwa Reysol, FC Tokyo 3-2 Sagan Tosu


At Big Swan Stadium, visiting Jubilo Iwata racked up an impressive 6-1 win against hosts Albirex. The poor result, which left Albirex in 17th place with nine points, was enough to result in the resignation of manager Hisashi Kurosaki.

Kashima Antlers had a productive weekend, with seven different players adding to their own accounts in a 7-0 win over last-placed Consadole Sapporo. Meanwhile, league leaders Vegalta Sendai showed their prowess with a 4-0 win over 2010 champions Nagoya Grampus.

Despite the goal rush, the most exciting result of Saturday night was in Osaka, where Cerezo blew a one-goal lead as Kashiwa Reysol fought back with goals from Leandro Domingues and Junya Tanaka to win 2-1. Yet the most dramatic finale came on Sunday, when FC Tokyo beat visiting Sagan Tosu 3-2 thanks to a second-half hat-trick by substitute Kazuma Watanabe.


  P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Vegalta Sendai 12 8 3 1 25 9 +16 27
2 S. Hiroshima 12 7 1 4 23 14 +9 22
3 Shimizu S-Pulse 12 7 1 4 15 11 +4 12
4 Jubilo Iwata 12 6 3 3 26 17 +9 21


Kazuma Watanabe

FC Tokyo

In a 13-minute span, the second-half substitute reversed Tokyo's fortunes with three fantastic goals to give the home supporters a thrilling win over plucky Sagan Tosu.

Along with team-mate Aria Jasuru Hasegawa, Watanabe is one of two key off-season signings for Tokyo who came over from Yokohama F. Marinos. The hat-trick brings the 25-year-old's goal total to four for the season, but if he can show the same form as a starter there will surely be more coming.


"This club is a great environment, and the question is whether or not I'll be able to use that."
-Newly-named Vissel Kobe manager Akira Nishino, who will lead the team for the first time next week

"I think the team should be praised for playing as well as FC Tokyo."
-Sagan Tosu manager Yoon Jung Hwan after his team's late collapse against Tokyo

"I'm not just happy with the result, but I'm happy with how we got it."
-FC Tokyo manager Ranko Popovic following the same match

Follow Goal.com Asia on and
for the latest in Asian footballing news, features, and analysis