Manager Tsuneyasu Miyamoto surprised some by starting the game with Tiago Alves and Patric up front, leaving Takashi Usami and Leandro Pereira on the bench.
Most of the attacking play in the early stages of the game was from Gamba, with a Ryu Takao cross just failing to meet Patric's head at the far post as he was seemingly wrestled to the ground and then from a corner soon after, the ball was headed towards goal and the arm of Toshihiro Aoyama stopped its progress - but VAR officials, though clearly showing that the ball struck the arm, did not give the PK.
Just before the break the home team had a chance to open the scoring when a corner ricocheted favourably into the path of a purple shirt, but the ball was struck straight at the 'keeper and the grateful Masaaki Higashiguchi saved the day.
The 2nd half saw much of the same with neither team able to create a real chance, with shots from distance causing no problems for either goalkeeper. Sanfrecce often looked lost, especially with the ball at the feet of Junior Santos, while Gamba had trouble stringing their usual passing moves together after so long away from the field. Yuya Fukuda - on as a substitute - came closest with about 10 minutes to go, as his short fizzed past the post with the 'keeper unsighted, and then another substitute, Usami, saw his direct free kick sail over the bar as the clock ticked into the 90 minutes.
And so, a draw, that first point of the season but, overall, disappointment in not coming back with all three points. And so onto Avispa Fukuoka on Wednesday night.
Team - Higashiguchi, Takao, Miura, Shoji, Fujiharu, Onose (Yajima, 83), Ideguchi, Yamamoto (Ju, 83), Kurata (Fukuda, 68), Patric (Leandro Pereira, 68), Tiago Alves (Usami, 61)