TOKYO - Sanfrecce Hiroshima claimed the J-League title for the first time when they defeated Cerezo Osaka 4-1 on Saturday, with their nearest rivals Vegalta Sendai losing to Albirex Niigata 1-0.
It was their first title since Japanese football went professional in 1993.
Going into Saturday's games, Sendai had trailed Hiroshima by one point with one more game each left this season.
"It was a very difficult season," said Japan international striker Hisato Sato. "Our supporters helped us to win the title. I want to thank them."
Midfielder Yojiro Takahagi opened the scoring when he collected a rebound off a defender in the 17th minute. Toshihiro Aoyama then made it two up hitting home a cross from Hironori Ishikawa in the 20th minute.
Sato, the J-League's top goal scorer, added another with a penalty in the 42nd minute and Ishikawa completed the scoring for Hiroshima in the 50th minute before Takuma Edamura pulled one back in the 61st minute.
"I feel great," said Takahagi. "We won the title because so many spectators came to the stadium today as well. Thank you very much."
Meanwhile, Aoyama said: "We became the number one club in Japan. I had wondered how the season would go, but it became our best-ever season."
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