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Thursday, May 17, 2012

FC Tokyo suffers first defeat in Asian Champions League


ULSAN, South Korea — FC Tokyo went down 1-0 away to South Korea's Ulsan Hyundai in the Asian Champions League on Wednesday, a first defeat of the competition costing the Emperor's Cup holders a home tie against J. League champions Kashiwa Reysol in the round of 16.

News photo
Out of gas: FC Tokyo's Hiroki Kawano moves the ball as an Ulsan player defends during their match on Wednesday. KYODO

Both teams had already qualified for the next stage but Tokyo only needed a draw to secure top spot in Group F and home advantage against Reysol, who finished second in Group H after a gutsy 2-0 win at Jeonbuk Motors on Tuesday.

Instead Kang Min Soo's goal late in the first half means Ulsan finish top and will meet Kashiwa and Tokyo now face a tough assignment away to Chinese champions Guangzhou Evergrande in the single-leg next round on May 30.

The J. League will have three teams in the round of 16, with Nagoya having also advanced on Tuesday thanks to a 3-0 victory over Central Coast Mariners. Already eliminated Gamba Osaka were beaten 2-0 at home by Australia's Adelaide United on Wednesday in Group E. Adelaide will play Nagoya on May 29.

Tokyo took the game to Ulsan from the kickoff and Kazuma Watanabe missed a great chance to give the Gasmen the lead in the 13th minute when he screwed wide after Hideto Takahashi's effort had come back off the post.

Tatsuya Yazawa then brought an acrobatic save out of Ulsan keeper Young Kwang Kim on 26 minutes and Hyun Soo Jang sent a free header wide from the corner that followed, but it was the South Koreans that broke the deadlock from a set piece eight minutes before the interval.

Hitoshi Shiota parried Tae Hwi Kwak's header after he got on the end of Seung Yong Kim's free kick, and Maranhao headed against the bar before the rebound fell to Kang, who drove home the rebound from the edge of the six-yard box.

Young did well to save a swerving shot from Yazawa on the hour mark as Tokyo pressed for an equalizer and he was again on hand to block Ariajasuru Hasegawa's shot in the 77th minute and a low effort from substitute Lucas deep into time added on.

Marinos edge Antlers


YOKOHAMA — Yokohama F. Marinos rattled off their fifth straight win, roaring back from a goal down in the last seven minutes to defeat holders Kashima Antlers 3-2 in the Nabisco Cup on Wednesday.

Shingo Hyodo, Manabu Saito and Masashi Oguro scored for Marinos, who produced their first victory of the league cup while dealing Group B leaders Kashima their first defeat of the competition.

Yasushi Endo and Juninho netted for Jorginho's Antlers.

Kashima's loss allowed Shimizu S-Pulse to pull level on points with nine. Ardija and Consadole Sapporo fought to a 1-1 draw at Omiya in the group's remaining game.

Marinos have been a team of streaks this year under Yasuhiro Higuchi, failing to win their first 10 games in all competitions before stringing together four straight victories, all in the league.

Higuchi rested almost half the team — including Shunsuke Nakamura — who thumped Sanfrecce Hiroshima 3-1 at the weekend but still mustered enough to open the scoring.

In the 36th minute, Saito was unleashed by Yuji Ono for a one-on-one with goalkeeper Hitoshi Sogahata, who gave away a penalty for tripping up the Japan Olympic team striker.

Hyodo converted with ease for his first goal of the competition as the hosts headed into the tunnel with the advantage.

Endo came on at halftime and the substitution paid off for Antlers two minutes to the hour, when the midfielder wove through three defenders before slotting home the equalizer.

Kashima made it 2-1 in the 68th minute thanks to Juninho, who pounced on a beauty of a through ball from former Japanese international Masashi Motoyama.

But the drama started to unfold in the 83rd minute when Sogahata committed a schoolboy error, fumbling a Nakamura cross into the path of Saito who restored parity with his second strike of the Nabisco Cup.

Marinos capped the comeback four minutes to time through Oguro, who, from well outside the box, blasted into the bottom right corner to give his team the three points.

In Group A, Sagan Tosu defeated leaders Jubilo Iwata 3-2 at home behind a brace by Yusuke Inuzuka and Urawa Reds thrashed Kawasaki Frontale 3-0 away as Tomoya Ugajin struck twice in the second half.

Cerezo Osaka unearthed a 2-1 win over Sanfrecce Hiorshima deep in stoppage time as South Korea's Olympic team midfielder Kim Bo Kyung netted in the 95th minute.

Jubilo are still in the lead with nine points, three points ahead of Cerezo, Sagan and Reds.

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