There was no fairytale debut for Aussie coach Graham Arnold whose team, Vegalta Sendai, were beaten 2-1 at home by Albirex Niigata in the kick-off round of the J.League.
The former Central Coast Mariners boss looked to have banked a point until Roger Gaucho popped up in the 89th minute to seal the win for the visitors.
Meanwhile, newly promoted Tokushima Vortis were given a hostile welcome in their maiden J.League outing as Sagan Tosu dished out a 5-0 thrashing.
Tokushima, last season's second-tier play-off winners, looked to be coping well with the step up in quality until Kim Min-Woo and Hiroyuki Taniguchi scored just before the break.
Kei Ikeda struck early in the second half before Yohei Toyada's double, including one from the spot, wrapped up an easy triumph for Joon Jung-Hwan's men on Saturday.
Diego Forlan made his J.League bow for Cerezo Osaka, but the Uruguayan was unable to prevent his new side falling to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of reigning champions Sanfrecce Hiroshima at the Nagai Stadium.
It took until the 71st minute for the visitors to find the breakthrough, however, with Tsukasa Shiotani duly providing the winner for Hajime Moriyasu's charges.
Second division champions Gamba Osaka began life back in the top flight in a 1-0 defeat at home to Urawa Reds, while fellow promoted outfit Vissel Kobe fared better as they earned a 2-2 draw at Kawasaki Frontale thanks to Ryo Matsumura's injury-time leveller.
Ventforet Kofu finished just one spot above the relegation zone last term and the early signs suggest they will struggle again this season after falling to a 4-0 home defeat at the hands of Kashima Antlers.
Davi got the ball rolling in the 11th minute, and the visitors entered half-time with a two-goal cushion courtesy of Yasushi Endo's strike.
Gen Shoji added a third shortly after the restart, while Davi's second of the match completed the comprehensive victory deep into injury time.
Yokohama F. Marinos endured a torrid end to last season as their title hopes went up in smoke, but Jungo Fujimoto and Manabu Saito secured a 2-0 opening-day victory over Omiya Ardija on Sunday.
In other fixtures, Milivoje Novakovic snatched an 80th-minute winner for Shimizu S-Pulse in a 3-2 win at Nagoya and Kashiwa Reysol drew 1-1 with Tokyo.