KENYA BROWN - Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Daniel Schmidt and Vegalta Sendai followed their win over the weekend with a hammering of Shonan Bellmare on Wednesday to stay in contention for a Champions League spot.
Vegalta Sendai 4-1 Shonan Bellmare
Vegalta Sendai made easy work of their opponents as they came away with a comfortable win at the Yurtec Stadium as the country celebrates the Obon Festival.
All five goals in the contest would be scored by Sendai, and the first one unfortunately would be an own goal by defender Koji Hachisuka in the 10th minute. Shonan's Ryo Takahashi sent a long throw-in into the area that would fall at the feet of a teammate who took a shot towards goal.
Schmidt did well to get a hand on the ball and push it away enough that it crashed off the post. However, Hachisuka would make the mistake of trying to clear it while facing towards the goal and the ball hit the roof of the net to give their opponents the lead.
Despite the error, the host were not deterred and leveled the score five minutes later through Kunimitsu Sekiguchi as he tucked the ball into the back of the net from just inside the area.
Takuma Nishimura gave Sendai the lead just after the half-hour mark when he collected a pass from Hiroaki Okunoput and hit his half-volleyed shot past Shonan goalkeeper Yota Akimoto at the near post.
Sendai continued their dominance in the second half, with new signing Mike Havenaar scoring his first goal for the team in the 55th minute. Yasuhiro Hiraoka put a cross into the area from the right and the towering Japanese forward headed the ball into the goal from close range.
Vegalta then rounded out the scoring in the 87th minute when Hachisuka redeemed himself from his gaffe in the first half by scoring in the right goal this time as headed in a goal of his own from a Katsuya Nagato corner kick. There was some question as to whether the ball crossed over the goal line, but the referee confirmed that it did.
Sendai remains in eighth place in the standings with 32 points, eight points behind Kawasaki Frontale and FC Tokyo who sit in the second and third spots to qualify for the AFC Champions League.