Football: Niigata beat Hiroshima 2-1 for 1st J1 win since 2017

Promoted side Albirex Niigata stunned title aspirants Sanfrecce Hiroshima 2-1 on Sunday, notching their first J-League top-flight victory since 2017.

Shusuke Ota and Koji Suzuki scored in the first half for visiting Niigata, back in the J1 after five seasons in the second division, while Tsukasa Shiotani struck late for last year's third-place finishers.

Both sides came into the clash at Edion Stadium Hiroshima looking for their first win of the campaign after drawing in last week's opening round.

J1 debutant Ota blasted the opener in the 14th minute after Shunsuke Mito laid it off at the edge of the box.

Both teams hit the woodwork before manager Rikizo Matsuhashi's side went end to end for their second goal in the 37th minute, with Ota controlling Ryotaro Ito's ball into the box and squaring for Suzuki to tap in.

Shiotani buoyed the home side's hopes in the 79th minute with a long-range volley after the Niigata defense failed to clear from a free kick.

Levain Cup champions and Emperor's Cup runners-up last year, Sanfrecce, aim for more silverware in their second season under German manager Michael Skibbe.

In Sunday's other J1 clash, FC Tokyo held on for a 1-1 draw away to Kashiwa Reysol after Hotaka Nakamura's second yellow card left the visitors with 10 men from the 82nd minute.

© Kyodo News