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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

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Key highlight: Kashiwa Reysol's Leandro Domingues scores a 24th-minute goal against Buriram United in the Asian Champions League on Tuesday. Reysol won 1-0. KYODO

Leandro strikes lone goal in Kashiwa Reysol triumph over Buriram United

Kyodo

KASHIWA, Chiba Pref. — J.League champions Kashiwa Reysol kept alive their second-round hopes in the Asian Champions League with a 1-0 victory over 10-man Buriram United of Thailand on Tuesday night.

Leandro Domingues, the reigning J.League MVP, scored the lone goal midway through the first half as Nelsinho's side improved to seven points from five matches in Group H.

Reysol had their backs to the wall going into the match, needing to avoid defeat to avert first-round elimination. Even a draw could have left them in peril, depending on the outcome of the Guangzhou Evergrande-Jeonbuk Hyundai game played later on Tuesday.

"It's always a joy to score for Reysol and help this team win," Leandro said. "We haven't been on the best of runs recently, so it was nice to take three points from the game today."

Reysol had not won since beating hapless Consadole Sapporo 2-0 in the J-League on April 7.

"It was a complex, difficult game for us," said Nelsinho, whose team next faces Jeonbuk away on May 15. "Our opponents execute the counterattacking game as well as anyone, and we were forced to take on risks when we attacked.

"We have a while until our next match. What we have to do is turn our attention to the next game in the J.League on Sunday against Sanfrecce (Hiroshima).

"Regardless of what the result is from the other game, our only option is to win the next one so we can qualify for the knockout round," he said.

On a comfortable evening at Kashiwa Stadium, the first half proved to be an open and entertaining counter with both parties hitting their stride on the break.

African wingers Franck Ohandza Zoa and Frank Acheampong looked dangerous on the run for Buriram, as Kashiwa countered through Leandro and Ricardo Lobo, who made a rare appearance from the start.

It was none other than Leandro who pushed Reysol in front in the 23rd minute, when he single-handedly split the defense before slotting home his third goal of the competition with his left foot.

Things continued to turn worse for Buriram in the 41st minute, as Cameroonian defender Yves Ekwalla Herman was sent off for a second yellow card.

But the visitors were far from done, Buriram pressuring the hosts with their pace and guile despite the disadvantage. Yet Koji Inada, Nelsinho's third choice in goal, turned in a solid performance in his ACL debut as Kashiwa held on for the three points.

"I thought we were solid in the first half as well as the second half," Nelsinho said. "Overall, I thought we had the better performance and were deserving of the victory."

In Group G, Nagoya Grampus drew 1-1 away to Seongnam Ilhwa thanks to a 72nd-minute own goal by Park Jin Po. Dragan Stojkovic's side stayed second on goal difference behind Seongnam.



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