Monday 27 September 2010

Tamada nets hat-trick as five-star Grampus destroy S-Pulse



A first hat-trick in six years for Japan forward Keiji Tamada helped Nagoya Grampus restore their seven-point lead at the top of J1 with a crushing 5-1 win away to fellow title hopefuls Shimizu S-Pulse on Saturday afternoon.

After a goalless first half, the home side opened the scoring just two minutes after the restart when Takuma Edamura got an outstretched foot to Shinji Okazaki’s low cross, but the advantage was quickly overturned when Tamada’s immediate equaliser was followed by a well-taken header by Australia striker Joshua Kennedy just before the hour mark.

Tamada then fired home a left-footed shot from a tight angle to double the Grampus lead, before any hopes that S-Pulse had of staging a comeback were undone by a straight red card for central defender Keisuke Iwashita a day after his 24th birthday. The league leaders took full advantage as Tamada completed his hat-trick with a delicate free-kick, while Kennedy netted his 13th goal of the season late on to seal a convincing margin of victory and move top of the J1 scorers’ charts.

A perfect afternoon for Dragan Stojković’s side was then completed with news that their two closest challengers had both dropped points away from home. Second-placed Kashima Antlers needed a Robert Green-esque blunder from Shusaku Nishikawa in the 92nd minute to rescue a 1-1 draw at Sanfrecce Hiroshima, while Cerezo Osaka missed the firepower of suspended striker Adriano in a frustrating 0-0 stalemate at struggling Kansai rivals Vissel Kobe.

The latter result later allowed Gamba Osaka to leapfrog their neighbours into third, eight points off the pace, as a 25-yard strike from Lucas sealed a notable 2-1 victory away to sixth-placed Kawasaki Frontale.

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Kiyoshi Okuma’s first game back in charge of FC Tokyo ended in a dismal 1-0 defeat at home to Omiya Ardija thanks to a first ever J. League goal for rookie midfielder Jun Kanakubo. The result takes the Squirrels six points clear of the relegation zone in 14th position, but the capital side are now a clear two points adrift of safety and without a win in their last 12 competitive matches.

Bottom club Shonan Bellmare drew 1-1 at Montedio Yamagata to move back level with Kyoto Sanga - who lost 1-0 at home to Jubilo Iwata - but both clubs are still eight points behind 15th-placed Kobe with vastly inferior goal differences.

Elsewhere, Urawa Reds climbed back into the top half with a 2-0 win over Albirex Niigata, whose flirtation with a title challenge appears over after just one point from their last four matches.


J1 results (matchday 24)
FC Tokyo 0-1 Omiya Ardija
Shimizu S-Pulse 1-5 Nagoya Grampus
Vissel Kobe 0-0 Cerezo Osaka
Sanfrecce Hiroshima 1-1 Kashima Antlers
Montedio Yamagata 1-1 Shonan Bellmare
Urawa Reds 2-0 Albirex Niigata
Kyoto Sanga 0-1 Jubilo Iwata
Kawasaki Frontale 1-2 Gamba Osaka
Yokohama F Marinos 0-1 Vegalta Sendai

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