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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Takahashi leads Cerezo past Gamba


Suita, Osaka Pref. — Daisuke Takahashi struck a late winner as Cerezo Osaka beat Gamba Osaka 1-0 to claim local bragging rights and a place in the quarterfinals of the Asian Champions League on Tuesday night.

Cerezo had not beaten Gamba in the league since July 2003, but Takahashi struck two minutes from time to beat Yosuke Fujigaya at his near post and send Levir Culpi's men into the last eight on their tournament debut.

The draw for the two-leg quarterfinals in September will take place at the Asian Football Confederation's headquarters in Kuala Lumpur on June 7.

Cerezo took the game to Gamba in the early stages and nearly capitalized on a slip from Tatsuya Uchida in the seventh minute, Kim Bo Kyung unleashing a fierce low drive that Fujigaya did brilliantly to turn around the post.

Rodrigo Pimpao was inches away from connecting with a cross from Martinez but Gamba looked dangerous on the break and Takashi Usami fired into the side netting midway through the first half before his cross was headed just over the bar by Takahiro Futagawa.

Levir Culpi made a double substitution at halftime when he brought on Masaki Chugo for Shu Kuratsu and Rui Komatsu for Takashi Inui, and the move nearly paid off when Komatsu brought a flying save out of Fujigaya on 64 minutes.

Fujigaya produced more heroics to keep out another close-range effort from Kim but Takahashi snatched victory and Cerezo held on after Usami hit the post in the waning moments.

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