Hiroshima beaten 2-1 in J-League’s season opener
HIROSHIMA, Japan (AP) — Defending champions Sanfrecce Hiroshima got off to a poor start on Saturday, losing 2-1 to Urawa Reds on the opening day of the J-League’s 2013 season.
Former Sanfrecce playmaker Yosuke Kashiwagi and Genki Haraguchi scored either side of halftime for former Asian champions Reds, who finished third last season.
Koji Morisaki scored in the 55th minute for the hosts with a superb free kick that went in off the bar to cut the deficit to 2-1.
Urawa won away on the opening weekend for the first time in its history, allowing Serbian coach Mihailo Petrovic to beat the team he managed from 2006 to ’11.
Both Urawa and Hiroshima were handed midweek defeats in the Asian Champions League — Reds losing 3-0 away to Guangzhou Evergrande and Sanfrecce falling 2-0 at home against Uzbekistan’s Bunyodkor.
In other matches, 2012 runnersup Vegalta Sendai drew 1-1 with Ventforet Kofu while Yokohama F Marinos defeated Shonan Bellmare 4-2. Brazilian Marquinhos scored twice for Yokohama.
Cerezo Osaka beat Albirex Niigata 1-0 courtesy of Yoichiro Kakitani’s goal two minutes from time. Shimizu S-Pulse and Omiya Ardija played to a 2-2 draw.
Kashiwa Reysol host Kawasaki Frontale in Sunday’s only match.