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Monday, March 13, 2006

Gamba crushes rival Cerezo

OSAKA (Kyodo) Fernandinho and Magno Alves both bagged hat-tricks as Gamba Osaka rebounded from a disappointing start to its Asian Champions League campaign with a 6-1 thrashing of local rival Cerezo Osaka in the J. League on Sunday.

News photo
Fernandinho of Gamba Osaka rejoices after scoring his second goal of the match against Cerezo Osaka at Nagai Stadium.

Defending champion Gamba came into the derby licking its wounds after a 3-2 defeat to South Korean F.A. Cup winner Chonbuk Motors in its ACL opener in midweek and Fernandinho gave the visitors a dream start with a superb opener after three minutes at Nagai Stadium.

The pint-sized Brazilian collected a back-heel and ghosted past two defenders before burying the ball into the bottom left-hand corner.

Gamba dominated the opening half an hour and should have doubled its lead in the ninth minute through Magno Alves.

But the former Oita Trinita striker, who opened his Gamba account in Wednesday's defeat, spurned a glorious opportunity when he blazed over after being put through by Akihiro Ienaga.

At the other end, Akinori Nishizawa glanced a Ze Carlos free-kick wide and Cerezo equalized against the run of play in the 41st minute when the former Japan striker let rip with a rasping drive from just outside the box.

Gamba continued to dictate the pace of the game after the interval and their persistence was rewarded just after the hour mark when Fernandinho prodded home Ienaga's cross from close range.

Fernandinho completed his treble after some suicidal defending from Hiroshige Yanagimoto and Magno Alves ripped Cerezo's sorry defense to shreds with three goals in the space of five minutes to wrap up Gamba's first win of the season.

"To score three goals and help the team win a derby match like this makes me really happy," said Fernandinho.

Gamba has four points from two games following its opening-day draw at home to Urawa Reds.

"There is no need for me to tell you what a special match this is so it is very pleasing to win like this," said Gamba manager Akira Nishino.

"I thought we were in control from the first half although we didn't really have that many clear-cut chances. But we are improving with every game and the second half went just the way I had imagined it would."

In the day's other game, substitute Yoshihiro Uchimura looked to have given Oita its first three points of the campaign when his cross from the left sailed in with nine minutes remaining at Kyushu Oil Dome.

But Brazilian striker Ueslei hit a last-gasp equalizer for Hiroshima to leave both teams with one point from two matches.



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