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Sunday, April 4, 2004

Jubilo tops Reds, moves to 3-0

IWATA, Shizuoka Pref. (Kyodo) Midfielder Norihiro Nishi scored twice as Jubilo Iwata maintained its perfect start to the season with a 3-1 win at home to the 10-man Urawa Reds in the J. League first division on Saturday.

News photo
Norihiro Nishi of Jubilo celebrates one of his goals during Saturday's game against the Urawa Reds at Iwata, Shizuoka Pref. Jubilo won 3-1.

Iwata, last season's league runnerup, stayed top of the table with nine points after three games in the first stage while the defending champion Yokohama F. Marinos picked up their first win after beating Cerezo Osaka 2-1.

At Yamaha Stadium, Nishi opened the scoring after 13 minutes, but the lead didn't last long as Iwata gifted Urawa an equalizer with an own goal in the 18th.

The Reds suffered a setback in the 24th minute, when Brazilian star striker Emerson was sent off after receiving his second yellow card in quick succession, and Iwata made quick use of its numerical advantage as Nishi struck his second two minutes later.

The 23-year-old then turned provider for Brazilian striker Rodrigo Gral, who rounded off the scoring in the 69th minute to seal the win and end Urawa's unbeaten start.

"All the players knew how important this match was and I thought they attacked and defended really well," Iwata manager Takashi Kuwahara said.

"Even if it had been 11 against 11 for the whole game, I still think we would have beaten them," he said.

At International Stadium Yokohama, Japan defender Yuji Nakazawa headed the decisive goal 10 minutes from time to give Yokohama its first victory, after Tatsuhiko Kubo had canceled out Hiroaki Morishima's opener for the visitors.

Elsewhere, Patrick Mboma scored in his first league appearance of the season for Tokyo Verdy, but Ossie Ardiles' men were left still looking for their first points after a 3-2 defeat to local rival FC Tokyo.

Verdy twice led in a pulsating encounter at Ajinomoto Stadium, but Brazilian defender Jean stole in unmarked to head FC Tokyo level in the 72nd minute and substitute Yuta Baba nodded home the winner nine minutes from time.

At Hiroshima Big Arch, Japan U-23 midfielder Yuki Abe scored his second goal in as many games and created another as JEF United Ichihara came from a goal down to beat Sanfrecce Hiroshima 3-1, while Masashi Oguro came off the bench to help himself to a double as Gamba Osaka thrashed winless Shimizu S-Pulse 4-0.

In Saturday's evening game, Vissel Kobe were held to a 0-0 draw by Oita Trinita despite playing half the game with a one-man advantage. Oita had Dutch midfielder Richard Witschge sent off shortly before the interval.



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