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Friday, Sept. 24, 2004

Urawa Reds run ends

Substitute Lucas headed home the only goal of the game in the 53rd minute Thursday as FC Tokyo ended Urawa Reds' winning run in the J. League's second stage with a 1-0 victory at home.

Slack marking allowed Lucas to head Yuta Baba's corner past goalkeeper Norihiro Yamaguchi just one minute after coming off the bench at Ajinomoto Stadium and the FC Tokyo defense held on to end Urawa's 100 percent record in their six games.

But the result kept Urawa at the top of the 16-team table on 15 points from five games after Gamba Osaka lost 3-1 at home to Tokyo Verdy, with two goals from midfielder Takahito Soma.

Soma put Verdy ahead after 27 minutes with a shot from the edge of the penalty box, the first goal of his J. League career, before Takashi Hirano pounced on the rebound to double the lead for the visitors seven minutes after the break at Expo Stadium.

Ten minutes later, Hirano turned provider for Soma, who scored his second of the afternoon with a left-foot shot past Gamba goalkeeper Naoki Matsuyo.

Gamba, which entered the game two points behind Urawa Reds, pulled one back through Satoshi Yamaguchi in the 79th minute but it proved too late and took a dent in its chase of league leaders.

At Tokyo's National Stadium, Yokohama F. Marinos were reduced to nine men in the second half and let their two-goal halftime advantage slip away in a 2-2 draw at home to lowly Vissel Kobe.

Yokohama appeared on course for a comfortable win with goals from Daisuke Sakata and South Korean international Ahn Jung Hwan in the first half hour but went downhill after defender Yuzo Kurihara was controversially sent off in the 52nd minute.

Ryuji Bando cut the deficit for Kobe with a 62nd-minute header, 11 minutes before Yokohama substitute Tatsuhiko Kubo received his marching orders, and Mitsutoshi Watada slotted home the equalizer seven minutes from time.

Elsewhere, JEF United Ichihara beat 10-man Oita Trinita 2-0 at home on second-half goals from Marquinhos and Sandro and leapfrogged F. Marinos into third place in the league table, behind Gamba on goal difference.

Nagoya Grampus Eight thrashed visiting Cerezo Osaka 5-2 thanks to a hat trick by Marques in a match between mid-table clubs, which also saw goals from Claiton and Jorginho for the home side.

At Niigata, Brazilian strikers Edmilson and Fabinho netted goals in the span of five minutes midway through the second half as Albirex Niigata came from behind twice to defeat Sanfrecce Hiroshima 3-2.

Kashima Antlers and Shimizu S-Pulse played to a scoreless draw at Kashima Stadium, while struggling Jubilo Iwata drew 1-1 at home to bottom club Kashiwa Reysol.



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