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Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2003

Grampus Eight tops J. League

The Associated Press Brazilian Ueslei struck twice as a 10-man Nagoya Grampus Eight breezed to a 3-1 victory over Cerezo Osaka Tuesday to leap to the top of the J. League standings. FC Tokyo forward Amaral fires a header over Jubilo Iwata midfielder Naoya Kikuchi during their J. League match at Ajinomoto Stadium.

At Nagoya's Mizuho Athletics Stadium, the home side took the lead on Ueslei's 8th minute strike, and Tomoyuki Sakai added a second 21 minutes later.

Despite defender Yusuke Nakatani's sending off for a second yellow card in the opening minutes of the second half, Ueslei extended Nagoya's lead with a 64th minute right-footed blast from close range.

Osaka's only consolation was a Sho Gokyu goal in the 78th minute.

Nagoya has 13 points, one point ahead of four clubs tied for second -- Kashima Antlers, Tokyo Verdy, JEF United Ichihara and Kashiwa Reysol. Urawa Reds are in fifth with 11.

Verdy, playing in the day's late match, missed its chance to go first in the standings after drawing 2-2 with Gamba Osaka. Yoshiyuki Kobayashi's late strike helped Tokyo Verdy level the scores.

At Kashima Stadium, Tomoyuki Hirase's second-half header gave the Antlers a hard-fought 1-1 draw with Kyoto Purple Sanga.

Dutch striker Regillio Simons opened the scoring for Kyoto with a right-footed shot in the 33rd minute. But Hirase's header for Kashima early in the second half evened the score.

Defending champions Jubilo Iwata picked up an away 2-1 victory against FC Tokyo on a late Takashi Fukunishi winner.

Jubilo is struggling in 10th, with 9 points.

In other matches, Vissel Kobe and Yokohama F. Marinos played to a 1-1 draw, while Urawa Reds held JEF United Ichihara to a 2-2 tie.

Kashiwa Reysol moved up in the rankings after edging Vegalta Sendai 1-0, while Shimizu S-Pulse and Oita Trinita finished 0-0.

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