Yu Kobayashi was the star of the match as Kawasaki Frontale worked hard to gave champions Sanfrecce Hiroshima a taste of defeat in the first league game of the season.
Kobayashi broke the deadlock in the 84th minute to give his team first victory against Hiroshima since 2013. It was also Hiroshima’s second defeat this week, following their loss agaisnt Shandong Luneng in the AFC Champions League on Tuesday.
The match was notable for the participation of two of the highest-scoring footballers in the league history, Hiroshima’s Hisato Sato (157 goals) and Kawasaki’s Yoshito Okubo (156). However, both men failed to break Masashi Nakayama’s Japnapese league all-time scoring record (157).
Highlights: Sanfrecce Hiroshima 0-1 Kawasaki Frontale
Elsewhere, Zlatan Ljubijanki scored a late winner for last year’s runner-up Urawa Red Diamonds against Kashiwa Reysol. The star of the match was Yuki Muto, however, as he scored the opening goal then made the key pass for Ljubijanki to score the winner.
A 2-0 victory over Vissel Kobe gave Ventforet Kofu the top position on the table, while FC Tokyo went down 1-0 at the hand of newly promoted side Omiya Ardija.
However, both newcomers Jubilo Iwata and Avispa Fukuoka suffered defeats, losing 1-0 and 2-1 against Nagoya Grampus and Sagan Tosu, respectively.
The last game of round 1 on Sunday also saw another upset as 2015 runners-up Gamba Osaka lost 0-1 to visitors Kashima Antlers.