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Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Antlers stay ahead despite hot Choi

Brazilian striker Euller scored an injury-time penalty as the Kashima Antlers beat Gamba Osaka to hold onto the lead in the J. League first division on Tuesday.

News photo
Kashima Antlers forward Euller scores from the penalty spot past Gamba Osaka goalkeeper Naoki Matsuyo in the 89th minute.

Meanwhile, South Korean striker Choi Yong Soo grabbed his second hat trick in four days as JEF United Ichihara thrashed struggling Kyoto Purple Sanga 5-1.

Playing at Osaka's Expo stadium, Gamba opened the scoring in the 10th minute through Takahiro Futagawa, who seized a Toru Araiba shot that hit the post and gave Kashima 'keeper Hitoshi Sogahata no chance with a looping shot.

Kashima leveled the score in the 23rd when Masashi Motoyama netted a pass from Mitsuo Ogasawara.

At Ichihara stadium in Chiba Prefecture, Ichihara stayed immediately behind Kashima courtesy of Choi's hat trick.

After scoring three in the win over Yokohama F. Marinos at the weekend, Choi took his tally to a league-leading eight in six games as unfashionable Ichihara continued its impressive early season form.

News photo
F. Marinos forward Tatsuhiko Kubo (left) tries to take control of the ball despite the attentions of Grampus Eight defender Masahiro Koga.

Choi headed in a Takayuki Chano cross in the 22nd minute to open the scoring for Ichihara and Naotake Hanyu doubled the lead eight minutes before the break. The South Korean added a second in the 53rd minute and sealed his hat trick with another header five minutes later.

Masataka Sakamoto made it five on the hour with Shingo Suzuki getting a late consolation for the visitors.

Elsewhere, last season's champions Jubilo Iwata saw a three-game winning run come to an end after a 1-1 draw at Vegalta Sendai.

Iwata took the lead at Miyagi Stadium through a free kick by former Japan midfielder Hiroshi Nanami on the half hour but Brazilian substitute Eder fired home a 82nd-minute penalty to give the home side a share of the spoils.

Marinos were also forced to settle for a point after being held 0-0 at home to Nagoya Grampus Eight.

Elsewhere, first-half strikes from Koji Yamase and Brazilian striker Emerson eased Urawa Reds past bottom side Tokyo Verdy 2-0 at National Stadium.

Shimizu S-Pulse's woes continued after a 2-0 defeat at home to Kashiwa Reysol, while Yoshiro Abe scored his first-ever league goal to help FC Tokyo beat Vissel Kobe 1-0.

At Oita Stadium Big Eye, Cerezo Osaka came from behind to beat Oita Trinita 2-1.

Oita took the lead on Takayuki Yoshida's header just before the half hour, but Takaaki Tokushige equalized in the 53rd minute and Akinori Nishizawa chipped in after a goalmouth scramble in the 75th minute.



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