Monday 08 November 2010

Marquinhos keeps Antlers’ hopes alive as Jubilo and Reysol bask in glory



A second half strike from Brazilian forward Marquinhos kept the J1 title race alive as three times reigning champions Kashima Antlers edged a hard-fought encounter with this year’s runaway leaders Nagoya Grampus.

The veteran marksman collected a short pass from compatriot Gilson and fired a low shot inside Seigo Narazaki’s right-hand post from 25 yards to record the game’s only goal on 59 minutes.

Grampus thought they had been awarded penalties on two occasions in the first half, only for referee Nobutsugu Murakami to correctly change his initial decision to a free kick just outside the area in the former instance, and caution Joshua Kennedy for diving in the latter. A determined late rally saw Yoshizumi Ogawa miss a last-minute sitter as his low header bounced agonisingly past the post, but in truth a draw would have been harsh on a Kashima side that had just about been the better team throughout.

The result brings the Antlers back within eight points of their opponents with five matches left, but as beaten manager Dragan Stojković was at pains to underline afterwards, the Nagoya club remain very much in charge of their own destiny.

Elsewhere, Gamba Osaka could only draw 1-1 at FC Tokyo in a match that had implications at both ends of the table. The capital side are now separated from the relegation zone on goal difference alone as Vissel Kobe completed successive victories for the first time all year with a 2-0 success over Vegalta Sendai. Omiya Ardija are two points better off with a game in hand after beating Montedio Yamagata 2-1.

At five and six points ahead of Kobe respectively, neither Sendai nor Yamagata are safe from danger just yet, while relegation could be confirmed for Kyoto Sanga and Shonan Bellmare as early as next week after both shipped four goals in front of their home fans. A 4-3 win for Kawasaki Frontale at Nishikyogoku took them to within a point of the automatic Asian Champions League places in fourth, with Yokohama F Marinos just one point behind them in sixth after their 4-1 win against Kanagawa rivals Shonan.

Cerezo Osaka remain ahead of Yokohama on goal difference after a tense 1-0 win over Shimizu S-Pulse, who fall to seventh. Sanfrecce Hiroshima move up to eighth thanks to a last gasp winner from Hisato Sato on his return from injury against Urawa Reds, while Albirex Niigata were pegged back by a 95th-minute strike by Ryoichi Maeda to draw 1-1 at Jubilo Iwata.

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There had been scenes of glory earlier in the week for Jubilo as they secured their first silverware in seven years with an incredible 5-3 win over Sanfrecce Hiroshima in the final of the Yamazaki Nabisco Cup. Sanfrecce looked set for victory as they led 2-1 going into the final minute of the 90, but Maeda saved his side’s bacon at the last to set up a thrilling half hour of extra time.

Substitutes Minoru Suganuma and Ryohei Yamazaki scored in quick succession to give the Iwata outfit a 4-2 lead, before Tomoaki Makino halved the deficit with a dipping free kick. Maeda then completed the scoring on 109 minutes, but there was still time for Makino to miss a late penalty as Hiroshima searched desperately for a way back.

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Kashiwa Reysol secured an immediate return to the top flight with six games still remaining of the J2 season after a 3-0 home victory over FC Gifu. Ventforet Kofu need just two more wins to join them after thrashing bottom club Giravanz Kitakyushu 6-0.


J1 results (matchday 29)
Shonan Bellmare 1-4 Yokohama F Marinos
Cerezo Osaka 1-0 Shimizu S-Pulse
Vissel Kobe 2-0 Vegalta Sendai
FC Tokyo 1-1 Gamba Osaka
Jubilo Iwata 1-1 Albirex Niigata
Omiya Ardija 2-1 Montedio Yamagata
Kyoto Sanga 3-4 Kawasaki Frontale
Sanfrecce Hiroshima 2-1 Urawa Reds
Kashima Antlers 1-0 Nagoya Grampus


Selected J2 results (matchday 33)
Kashiwa Reysol 3-0 FC Gifu
Ventforet Kofu 6-0 Giravanz Kitakyushu
Avispa Fukuoka 2-3 Tochigi SC
Kataller Toyama 2-3 Tokyo Verdy
Consadole Sapporo 1-0 JEF United Chiba


Yamazaki Nabisco Cup final result
Jubilo Iwata 5-3 Sanfrecce Hiroshima (after extra time)

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