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Sunday, May 7, 2006

Gamba feeling better after a 2-0 result against Kofu

SUITA, Osaka Pref. (Kyodo) Magno Alves and Yasuhito Endo provided the perfect tonic for Gamba Osaka following their midweek Asian Champions League exit with goals in each half in a 2-0 win over Ventforet Kofu in the J. League on Saturday.

News photo
Gamba Osaka's Magno Alves (left) battles for the ball with Niju of Ventforet Kofu during their J. League match on Saturday.

Gamba's hopes of becoming the first Japanese team to reach the last eight of Asia's premier competition was extinguished Wednesday after a 1-1 draw with South Korean side Chonbuk Motors, which came on the back of a 1-0 league defeat to Albirex Niigata.

But Brazilian goal machine Magno Alves put the home side on the way with his 11th of the season from close range in the 39th minute at Expo Stadium.

Akira Kaji saw red moments later following a second booking but Kofu failed to capitalize on its numerical advantage and Endo wrapped up the win for Gamba from the penalty spot five minutes from time.

Victory put Gamba back on top of the standings ahead of Kawasaki Frontale and Urawa Reds.

Urawa plays fellow J. League heavyweight Kashima Antlers and Kawasaki takes on lowly Cerezo Osaka before the season takes a break for the upcoming World Cup finals.

Elsewhere, a late goal from Yokohama F. Marinos striker Norihisa Shimizu denied JEF United Chiba its third win on the bounce in a 1-1 draw at Nissan Stadium.

A superb volley from Satoru Yamagishi looked to have made the points safe for JEF until towering substitute striker Mike Havenaar set up Shimizu to clip the ball in off the far post as Yokohama's late pressure paid off two minutes from time.

"I didn't think we could play as well as we did today with the squad we had and I thought many of the younger players that don't often get an opportunity performed well," said Yokohama manager Takeshi Okada, whose side is seven points adrift of Gamba having played a game more.

"I am responsible for us not getting the win but although we might have only come away with a point, I think it is a point that will make a big difference in the future."

In other matches, Keisuke Honda's long-range free-kick earned Nagoya Grampus Eight a 2-2 draw away to Jubilo Iwata while late goals from Daisuke Tomita and Daigo Kobayashi gave Omiya Ardija its first win in five matches with a 2-1 defeat of FC Tokyo at Ajinomoto Stadium.

Tsukasa Umesaki was the match-winner for the second game in a row as Oita Trinita ran out a 2-1 winner over Kyoto Purple Sanga, which had Kentoku Noborio sent off early in the second half at Kyushu Oil Dome.

Resurgent Sanfrecce Hiroshima climbed out of the relegation zone with a second straight 1-0 win, this time against Avispa Fukuoka, while Niigata moved into sixth after a 4-2 win over Shimizu S-Pulse.

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