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Thursday, Oct. 14, 2004

J. LEAGUE

Late Lucas goal leads FC Tokyo to Nabisco final

Brazilian striker Lucas scored a hat trick, including an extra-time winner, as FC Tokyo beat crosstown rival Tokyo Verdy 4-3 in their semifinal Wednesday to advance to the final of the J. League Nabisco Cup.

News photo
FC Tokyo forward Lucas (right) reacts after scoring the second of his three goals in the 42nd minute during the Nabisco Cup semifinal match against Tokyo Verdy at Ajinomoto Stadium in Tokyo. FC Tokyo won 4-3 and takes on Urawa Reds in the final on Nov. 3.

Defender Jean opened the scoring after seven minutes and Lucas struck in the 15th and 43rd minutes as FC Tokyo went ahead 3-0 at halftime before squandering the lead to second-half Verdy goals through Takuya Yamada, Kazuki Hiramoto and Daigo Kobayashi.

Lucas completed his hat trick and sent FC Tokyo into the Nov. 3 final within the opening minute of extra time when he headed home a Masashi Miyazawa corner for the sudden-death golden goal at Ajinomoto Stadium.

FC Tokyo booked their place in the Nabisco Cup final for the first time and will now take on holders and J. League second-stage leaders Urawa Reds at the final at National Stadium in Tokyo.

Urawa crushed Nagoya Grampus Eight 4-1 in their semifinal at Mizuho stadium in Nagoya on Monday. Both of the one-off semifinals had been postponed from Saturday due to a powerful typhoon.

Beckham apologizes

LONDON (AP) David Beckham apologized Wednesday for deliberately getting a yellow card to draw a suspension for a World Cup qualifying game.

The England captain issued a formal apology after coming under harsh criticism for admitting he intentionally fouled a Welsh opponent.

Beckham knew he would miss Wednesday's game against Azerbaijan because of a broken rib he sustained during Saturday's 2-0 victory over Wales. Carrying a yellow card from a previous game, he fouled Welsh defender Ben Thatcher so he could serve the automatic ban while injured.

While missing Wednesday's match in Baku, which England should win easily, Beckham will start with a clean slate for the next World Cup qualifying games.

"I now know that was wrong and apologize to the Football Association, the England manager, my teammates and all England fans for this," Beckham said in a statement. "I have also apologized personally to my manager Sven-Goran Eriksson.

"I know that as captain you are in a privileged position and must always abide by FIFA's code of fair play, something which I have always done throughout my career.

"On this occasion I made a mistake. I hope that people will now focus on the match tonight and cheer the team on, as I will be doing."

The apology came hours after FIFA president Sepp Blatter criticized Beckham and urged the FA to take action.

"Where are we going when football's ambassadors do not show fair play?" Blatter said. "David Beckham is a role model for young children, an ambassador of football and an ambassador of fair play. . . . We are concerned at the attitude, the possible bad attitude, of the player."



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