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Sunday, Sept. 19, 2004

Reds thrash Albirex to stay top

SAITAMA (Kyodo) Free scoring Urawa Reds moved two points clear at the top of the first division with a 4-1 demolition of Albirex Niiigata in the J. League second stage Saturday.

News photo
Daisuke Sakata of the Yokohama F. Marinos reacts after scoring the game-tying goal in the 66th minute of Saturday's game against Sanfrecce Hiroshima at Hiroshima Big Arch. The teams drew 2-2.

Brazilian defender Nene opened his account for the Reds by bundling home the opener from an Alessandro Santos corner at Saitama Stadium 2002 before an own goal from put the home side firmly in control in the 25th minute.

There were more gifts from the visitors as defender Tadahiro Akiba inexplicably turned a Keita Suzuki cross from the right into his own net to put the game out of Niigata's reach five minutes before halftime.

Emerson grabbed his 19th goal of the season with an exquisite finish straight after the restart to make it four before Edmilson grabbed a consolation for Niigata from the penalty spot in the 68th minutes.

The result gave Guido Buchwald's men a maximum 15 points from five games, two ahead of Gamba Osaka, which saw its perfect start to the second stage come to an end after being held to a 3-3 draw away to Vissel Kobe.

Japan midfielder Yasuhito Endo scored twice in the space of two minutes at Kobe Wing Stadium to put the visitors 3-2 up with a quarter of an hour remaining but Czech midfielder Pavel Hovarth earned Kobe a share of the spoils with his second of the match in the 77th.

In other games, Japan striker Takayuki Suzuki denied struggling Jubilo Iwata its first win of the stage after his hat trick helped Kashima Antlers come from three goals down to salvage a point in a 4-4 draw.

Yokohama F. Marinos had Naoki Matsuda sent off after 12 minutes but two goals from in-form Daisuke Sakata earned the defending champions a 2-2 draw away to Sanfrecce Hiroshima.

Substitute Teppei Nishiyama struck the winner just eight minutes after coming on as a second-half substitute as Oita Trinita edged Shimizu S-Pulse 1-0 at home while Tokyo Verdy eased past Nagoya Grampus Eight 3-1.



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