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Monday, Nov. 8, 2004

J. LEAGUE

Kobe avoids the drop

KOBE (Kyodo) Veteran striker Kazuyoshi Miura found the target and Ryuji Bando converted a second-half penalty Sunday as Vissel Kobe escaped relegation from the J. League top flight after a 2-1 home victory over 10-man Kashima Antlers.

Miura put Kobe ahead on the half hour and Bando's spot-kick separated the sides in the 61st minute after Brazilian striker Baron equalized for Kashima in the 35th minute at Kobe Wing Stadium.

Baron was sent off eight minutes later for his second bookable offense.

In Sunday's other J. League match, Jubilo Iwata played to a 2-2 home draw with relegation-threatened Cerezo Osaka. Japan international midfielder Takashi Fukunishi scored twice for Iwata, who came from behind twice to salvage a point.

Mallorca eyes Okubo

OSAKA (Kyodo) J. League first-division side Cerezo Osaka confirmed Saturday that it has entered into negotiations with Spanish club Mallorca on a transfer deal for Japan international striker Yoshito Okubo.

Cerezo President Hiroyuki Idehara said he held a five-hour meeting with visiting Mallorca President Mateo Alemany on Friday, in which Mallorca offered a six-month loan deal but both sides ended the talks inconclusively.

"There's some room to consider the offer but I can't say at this stage when we would be able to shake hands," Idehara said.



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