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Sunday, July 25, 2004

Urawa Reds march on to Nabisco Cup quarters

Holders Urawa Reds came back from an early deficit to beat JEF United Ichihara 2-1 to reach the quarterfinals of the J. League Nabisco Cup on the final day of first-round clashes Saturday.

News photo
Matsumoto, Nagano Pref. -- Yuto Sato (left) of JEF United Ichihara competes for the ball with Urawa Reds' Koji Yamase during their Nabisco Cup match at Matsumotodaira Stadium. The Reds won 2-1.

League champion Yokohama F. Marinos, Gamba Osaka, Shimizu S-Pulse and Kashima Antlers also booked their places in the last eight, joining Tokyo Verdy, FC Tokyo and Nagoya Grampus Eight, who had already advanced past the group stage.

In a Group C match in Matsumoto, Seiichiro Maki gave Ichihara a fifth-minute lead but Urawa canceled out his strike through Nobuhisa Yamada four minutes later before Yamada slotted home his second in the 67th minute for the winner.

Urawa finished top of the group on goal difference over Shimizu, which also went through on 12 points from six matches after beating Oita Trinita 2-0 away on goals from Brazilian striker Araujo and Yoshikiyo Kuboyama.

In Group A, midfielder Norihisa Shimizu headed home the only goal midway through the second half as F. Marinos scraped by winless Cerezo Osaka 1-0 at Mitsuzawa Stadium in Yokohama.

F. Marinos finished six points behind Verdy, which capped its successful first-round campaign with a 3-1 win at Sanfrecce Hiroshima.

In Group B, Brazilian defender Sidiclei and Shigeru Morioka found the net in each half to give Gamba a 2-0 victory over Albirex Niigata in Kanazawa. Gamba leapfrogged Niigata into second place, three points adrift of Nagoya Grampus Eight, which drew 1-1 at Jubilo Iwata.

Kashima rounded out the last eight after a 2-0 win over Vissel Kobe thanks to second-half strikes from Masaki Fukai and Takuya Nozawa. FC Tokyo, which had already secured a place in the quarterfinals, eliminated Kashiwa Reysol with a 1-1 draw at home.

In the Sept. 4 quarterfinals, Urawa meets F. Marinos and Shimizu squares off with Verdy. FC Tokyo takes on Gamba while Nagoya plays Kashima.

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