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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Matsui scores to honor victims

VANNES, France (Kyodo) Japan midfielder Daisuke Matsui dedicated his first goal of the season to victims of the huge earthquake in Japan after scoring in Grenoble's 1-1 draw away to fellow strugglers Vannes in the French second division on Friday.

"I thought the only thing I could do was score for all the people who are in this terrible situation," said Matsui, who was living in Kyoto when the Great Hanshin Earthquake struck in nearby Kobe in 1995, leaving thousands dead.

"I know how frightening it is. I am so worried about the situation in Japan."

Matsui pounced on a loose ball to fire bottom club Grenoble into a 17th-minute lead, but Virgile Reset replied on 51 minutes to earn Vannes a point.

Cologne defender Tomoaki Makino offered words of encouragement to his countrymen after coming on as a late substitute in a 4-0 thrashing of Hannover in the Bundesliga.

"To everyone in the disaster-hit areas: Hang in there! I'm praying as many lives as possible will be spared," the Japanese international said.

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