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Monday, April 5, 2004

Albirex stuns Reysol to record first win in top flight

Albirex Niigata pulled off a dramatic first win in the J. League top flight as two stoppage-time goals from Shingo Suzuki and Brazilian striker Edmilson saw it edge past Kashiwa Reysol 2-1 away on Sunday.

Kashiwa looked to be on its way to its third straight win of the season and a share of the lead in the first-stage standings when Brazilian striker Jose Roberto de Oliveira slotted home in the 49th minute at Kashiwanoha Stadium.

But Suzuki ignited an improbable comeback when he leveled for the visitors from an acute angle in the dying embers and Edmilson stole in to drive home the winner seconds later to give last year's second division champion its first three points of the season.

Niigata has four points from three games with Kashiwa on six, three points behind leader Jubilo Iwata, which beat Urawa Reds 3-1 at home on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Kashima Antlers preserved their unbeaten start and moved into third on seven points after a 3-2 win at home to Nagoya Grampus Eight in the day's other game.

Much Adu about Freddy

WASHINGTON (AP) An awe-struck 14-year old Freddy Adu said on Saturday he harnessed the support of the fans to overcome the first-game jitters during his Major League Soccer debut in front of a nationally televised audience.

Adu supporters threw confetti and cheered when the baby-faced, fan-anointed soccer player entered as a substitute 61 minutes into the game with D.C. United leading the defending champion San Jose Earthquakes 2-1.

The 172-cm, 63-kg forward, driven to the game by his uncle, showed little sign of succumbing to the pressure, flashing his gleaming smile and offering adoring fans a glimpse of the speed and skillful ball handing that have followed him.

The 24,603 fans in attendance stood most of the second half, chanting "Freddy, Freddy" with one fan holding a sign urging the soccer player to "Just Adu it," a spin on Nike's slogan "Just do it."

"I was so anxious to get into the game," Adu said.

"The first game is not going to be easy, and I didn't expect it to be. I wouldn't change anything about today. I'm glad I had this experience."

United defeated the Earthquakes 2-1.



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