Recent J-League champions, Sanfrecce Hiroshima continue their unbeaten streak which now stands at nine as they defeat Oceania champions, Auckland City by a score of 2-0 with goals coming from Yusuke Minigawa and Tsukasa Shiotani.
Hiroshima's early pressure pays off
It took only seven minutes for the hosts to get an attempt on goal, although it was a rather weak effort. Gakuto Notsuda unleashed a shot from outside of the eighteen yard box that Jacob Spoonley would hold comfortably.
The first Hiroshima goal came two minutes later, after Spoonley made a massive error. Notsuda's initial shot was stopped, however, the Auckland shot stopper left a rebound and it fell to Minigawa's feet who made no mistake with his finish.
Spoonley got called into action again in the 27th minute when Minigawa was slipped through by Kosei Shibasaki. This time, Minigawa was stopped as the 28-year-old New Zealand native kept his side down only one goal.
Douglas came into the match in the 53rd minute and really changed the style in which Sanfrecce attacked. With the Brazilian now on the pitch, they were able to be more intricate with their passing in the attacking third and added creativity.
Auckland barely had any chances throughout the entirety of the ninety minutes and their best came in the 62nd minute when João Moreira barely missed the target with his left-footed shot.
A minute later, Hiroshima nearly scored their second after Douglas used some decent hold up play, waiting long enough to play a square ball in towards Takuma Asano. His effort trickled just wide of the near post.
Shiotani goal seals victory
There was finally a second goal from the host club and that came in the 70th minute. Douglas found Shiotani down the right hand side of the pitch and the Japanese international hit an extremely tight angled shot that deflected slightly off the leg of Marko Djordjevic and it found the back of the net.
Nine minutes later, Douglas nearly got on the score sheet. His header, unfortunately, was stopped excellently by Spoonley who had to react quickly and get down to the ground to keep it out.
Sanfrecce Hiroshima put on a very good performance for its fans as they were clinical in the attacking third and were able to find little pockets of space to operate in.
While Hiroshima's next match will be on Sunday when they face African powerhouse TP Mazembe for a spot in the semi-finals of the Club World Cup, they know that Hajime Moriyasu's men will be up for the challenge against a much tougher team both tactically and physically.