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Sunday, July 4, 2004

SOCCER

All square in All-Star game

NIIGATA -- Tokyo Verdy midfielder Atsuhiro Miura struck a late equalizer as J. East played out an entertaining 3-3 draw with J. West in the J. League All-Star match in Niigata on Saturday evening.

News photo
J. EAST MIDFIELDER Naohiro Ishikawa (right) celebrates with Atsuhiro Miura after scoring a goal in the sixth minute of the J. League all-Star match at Niigata Stadium. The match ended in a 3-3 draw.

Brazilian striker Ueslei came off the bench and scored his second of the night to put West 3-2 ahead with nine minutes remaining but Miura rifled home a 25-meter free-kick in the 87th minute as the annual exhibition game ended in a draw for the first time.

East raced into a 2-0 lead after 18 minutes through goals from Man of the Match Naohiro Ishikawa and fellow Japan Under-23 teammate Tatsuya Tanaka, the Urawa Reds striker heading home from close range after Yohei Sato could only parry Ishikawa's shot.

"It's only a bit more than a month since I came back from an injury, so it was very tough, but I'm glad I was able to score a goal," said Ishikawa, 23, of FC Tokyo.

"I received a very good pass from Atsuhiro (Miura), I just flicked it into the net," added Ishikawa after receiving a prize of 1 million yen yen.

But Ueslei kick-started West's comeback within five minutes of his introduction when the Nagoya Grampus Eight man scored from the penalty spot.

Shimizu S-Pulse midfielder Tomoyoshi Tsurumi leveled on the hour and Ueslei completed his brace by finishing off a neat one-two with Daiki Takamatsu before Miura rounded off the scoring.



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