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Sunday, Nov. 28, 2004

Avispa gets chance for promotion

TENDO, Yamagata Pref. (Kyodo) Avispa Fukuoka secured third place in the J. League's second division and a chance at returning to the top flight after a four-year absence with a 3-1 win away to Montedio Yamagata on Saturday.

Second-half goals from Ryota Arimitsu put Avispa on its way at Yamagata Stadium before Alex killed the game and put his team into a two-leg playoff against either Kashiwa Reysol or Cerezo Osaka, who are both aiming to avoid relegation to J-2.

Yamagata, which replied through Ryosuke Nemoto in the final minutes, finished fourth after the final round of matches in the second division.

With the J. League expanding to 18 teams next season, the third-place team in J-2 earns the chance to play in the top flight via the playoff, on Dec. 4 and 12, with the bottom club from the first division.

Kashiwa is one point clear of last-place Cerezo in the two-stage standings. Kashiwa travels to Oita Trinita, while Cerezo visits Albirex Niigata in the final round of second-stage matches in J-1 on Sunday.

Kawasaki Frontale and Omiya Ardija have clinched the automatic promotion berths from J-2.

The bottom two teams in the first division were automatically relegated with the top two from the second promoted through last season.

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