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Thursday, Dec. 8, 2005

Kofu downs Kashiwa in J-2 playoff

KOFU, Yamanashi Pref. (Kyodo) Second-division side Ventforet Kofu boosted their promotion hopes after coming from behind to beat Kashiwa Reysol 2-1 at home Wednesday in the first leg of the J. League promotion/relegation playoff.

News photo
Second-division side Ventforet Kofu striker Bare shoots during a J.League promotion-relegation playoff match against Kashiwa Reysol in Yamanashi.

Brazilian striker Bare scored what proved to be the winning goal four minutes into the second half of the game at Kose sports park stadium in Yamanashi Prefecture, which was delayed for 35 minutes due to a floodlight failure.

Kashiwa gained the lead after 12 minutes through Reinaldo, who headed home a Harutaka Ono free kick off the crossbar, but Kazuki Kuranuki canceled out the Brazilian's goal with a 26th-minute header.

Kuranuki then turned provider after the break as he squared a pass for Bare to beat Kashiwa keeper Yuta Minami from just inside the box. The Kofu defense held out the rest of the way in the face of heightened pressure from Kashiwa in steady rain.

The return leg will be played Saturday at Kashiwa stadium.

Kofu clinched a playoff spot after a 2-1 win away at J-2 champions Kyoto Purple Sanga moved them into third, one clear of Vegalta Sendai, on the final day of the season last Saturday.

Kashiwa, who are in the promotion/relegation playoff for the second successive year, finished the season third from bottom of the 18-team first-division table. Last year, they beat Avispa Fukuoka 4-0 on aggregate to ensure their survival in the top flight.

Kyoto and Fukuoka gained automatic promotion while Vissel Kobe and Tokyo Verdy, the bottom two first-division sides, went down.



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