Sanfrecce scoop J-League Super Cup title
Tokyo: Teenage strikers Gakuto Notsuda and Takuma Asano scored either side of half-time as Sanfrecce Hiroshima beat Yokohama Marinos 2-0 on Saturday to claim the Super Cup for a second year running.
Notsuda opened the scoring for the J-League champions in the sixth minute before substitute Asano doubled the lead in the 66th minute, settling the final Super Cup game to be held at Tokyo`s National Stadium before the venue is demolished and rebuilt to host the 2020 Olympics.
Marinos beat Sanfrecce 2-0 in last season`s Emperor`s Cup final to gain a measure of revenge for being pipped at the post by the same opponents for the league title, but it was Sanfrecce who struck the first blow of 2014 one week before the new J-League season begins.
"We`ve been working hard in training ahead of the new season and I`m happy that we were able to show that today," said Sanfrecce manager Hajime Moriyasu.
"But we`re not perfect yet. We`re still capable of raising our quality."
Notsuda put Sanfrecce ahead with a tap-in after team-mate Hisato Sato had failed to connect with a low cross into the box by Naoki Ishihara.
New Yokohama signing Jungo Fujimoto missed a chance to equalize when he fluffed a shot at the back post midway through the first half, and Sanfrecce substitute Asano made the game safe when he dispatched a through-ball from Notsuda with a first-time shot in the 66th minute.
"They were confident going into the game and they are improving all the time," Sanfrecce captain Toshihiro Aoyama said of his team`s 19-year-old goal-scorers. "I don`t think you`ve heard the last of them."
Marinos beat Sanfrecce twice in the league last season but threw away a four-point lead at the top of the table with two games remaining, to blow their hopes of a first title since 2004.
"It was a fair result," said Marinos manager Yasuhiro Higuchi.
"I thought we looked a little off the pace today. We still have some fitness work to do before the season begins."