Reds captain Sakai has season-ending knee surgery

Urawa Reds captain Hiroki Sakai had meniscus surgery on his right knee Monday, the J-League football club said.

The 33-year-old defender, a member of the Japan national team at the last three World Cups, will need about three months to fully recover. The Reds are third in the top-flight table with 54 points, eight behind leaders Vissel Kobe, with three matches remaining for each team.

Sakai has scored two goals in 25 matches this term.

He played in last Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Avispa Fukuoka in the J-League Cup final at Tokyo’s National Stadium.