J1 League’s Thrilling Return: 2024 Season Kicks Off with Epic Encounters

The Meiji Yasuda J1 League has burst back into action with Matchweek 1 delivering a spectacular kickoff to the 2024 season.

In a thrilling encounter, Tokyo Verdy made their return to the top flight after 16 years, showcasing resilience with a brilliant Fuki Yamada free-kick. However, Yokohama F·Marinos had the last word with an 89th-minute penalty by Anderson Lopes and a stunning 93rd-minute curler from Ken Matsubara, sealing a 2-1 victory at the Japan National Stadium in front of a 53,026-strong crowd.

Defending champions Vissel Kobe asserted their dominance in a 2-0 win against Júbilo Iwata, with Koya Yuruki and Daiju Sasaki finding the net.

Sanfrecce Hiroshima started their campaign with a 2-0 victory against Urawa Reds, thanks to a stellar performance by Yuki Ohashi, who scored twice in his debut for the Three Arrows.

Kashima Antlers made a resounding statement with a 3-0 triumph over Nagoya Grampus, as Hayato Nakama scored twice, signaling their intent for a strong contention in the 2024 season.

Shonan Bellmare took an early lead against Kawasaki Frontale, but the visitors mounted a comeback with a long-range screamer from Yasuto Wakizaka and a goal from debutant Erison, securing a 2-1 victory.

Cerezo Osaka and FC Tokyo played out a thrilling 2-2 draw, featuring Ryotaro Araki’s impressive brace in his debut for FC Tokyo, while Capixaba and Shunta Tanaka found the net for the hosts.

In a historic encounter, FC Machida Zelvia nearly secured victory in their inaugural J1 match, but a 60th-minute red card shifted momentum, allowing Gamba Osaka to equalize through Takashi Usami in the 84th minute, ending in a 1-1 draw.

Albirex Niigata clinched a noteworthy away win, defeating Sagan Tosu 2-1, highlighted by Kaito Taniguchi’s sublime volley, a strong contender for Goal of the Year.

Avispa Fukuoka and Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo battled to a goalless draw, with both teams earning a point in a match where chances were hard to come by.

Kashiwa Reysol and Kyoto Sanga shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw, with Matheus Sávio’s fabulous goal for Reysol countered by Yuto Anzai’s stoppage-time equalizer for Sanga. The dramatic start to the season sets the stage for what promises to be an enthralling 2024 J1 League campaign.

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