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Sunday, May 16, 2004

Marinos beat Jubilo

SHIZUOKA (Kyodo) Japan midfielder Daisuke Oku plotted his old club's downfall by scoring one and setting up the other as Yokohama F. Marinos beat J. League leader Jubilo Iwata 2-1 at home Saturday to narrow the gap to three points at the top of the first-stage standings.

News photo
Jubilo's Gral (right) and Yuji Nakazawa (center) of the Yokohama F. Marinos vie for the ball as Naoki Matsuda looks on Saturday in Shizuoka. Yokohama beat Iwata 2-1.

Captain Oku opened the scoring with a splendid free-kick to give defending champion Yokohama the lead after 15 minutes, only for Toshiya Fujita to equalize for the visitors against the run of play with an equally exquisite finish two minutes later.

But Oku turned provider on 65 minutes when he sent over a corner for defender Daisuke Nasu to power home an unstoppable header and keep Yokohama in contention for its second straight title.

Iwata, dumped out of the Asian Champions League on Wednesday, stayed on 24 points at the top of the table with Yokohama on 21 with five matches remaining.

Elsewhere, Urawa Reds were held to a 3-3 draw at home to JEF United Ichihara, leaving the visitors third, six points adrift of Iwata.

Kashima Antlers needed a last-ditch effort from defender Tatsuya Ichikawa to see off last-placed Kashiwa Reysol 1-0 at Tokyo's National Stadium and move into fourth on 17 points, one ahead of Ichihara.

At the other end of the table, Tokyo Verdy won 2-1 at Nagoya Grampus Eight, while 10-man Albirex Niigata moved off the bottom of the standings after a 2-1 win at fellow struggler Cerezo Osaka.

Magno Alves' 89th-minute penalty gave Oita Trinita a 4-3 win over Gamba Osaka.

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