Thursday 25 August 2011

Gamba edge Reysol to strengthen hold on top spot



Gamba Osaka left it late to seal a 2-0 win over Kashiwa Reysol on Wednesday evening to move one point clear at the top of the J. League table.

In highly atypical fashion for a side that has now scored 57 goals but conceded 41 in 23 league matches, Gamba’s second top-two battle in the space of seven days appeared headed for a 0-0 stalemate until Shohei Otsuka earned a lucky break nine minutes from time. The 21-year-old substitute’s cross took a massive deflection off the head of Kashiwa winger Jorge Wagner and looped into the net over the helpless Kazushige Kirihata.

Within a minute, Brazilian teenager Afonso marked his debut with an assist for Shoki Hirai to make sure of the three points. The clean sheet is only Gamba’s second of the season.

Nagoya Grampus also had their own share of fortune in coming from behind to win 2-1 at Kawasaki Frontale and move back up to second place. The hosts led through Junpei Kusukami until Yusuke Tanaka was harshly dismissed for a supposed handball in the penalty area. Joshua Kennedy converted from the spot and scored again three minutes later to complete the Grampus recovery.

Yokohama F Marinos are just behind on goal difference after a 2-1 victory over Cerezo Osaka, though the result was marred by a knee injury to star midfielder Shunsuke Nakamura.

Elsewhere, the status quo was maintained in the battle for survival as Ventforet Kofu drew 1-1 at home to Kashima Antlers, while Omiya Ardija emerged with a goalless draw from their trip to Albirex Niigata.


J1 results (matchday 23)
Montedio Yamagata 1-1 Shimizu S-Pulse
Urawa Reds 1-1 Sanfrecce Hiroshima
Kawasaki Frontale 1-2 Nagoya Grampus
Ventforet Kofu 1-1 Kashima Antlers
Albirex Niigata 0-0 Omiya Ardija
Jubilo Iwata 1-1 Vegalta Sendai
Gamba Osaka 2-0 Kashiwa Reysol
Avispa Fukuoka 2-2 Vissel Kobe
Yokohama F Marinos 2-1 Cerezo Osaka

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