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Sunday, Aug. 13, 2006

Alex scores 2 goals -- again


SAITAMA (Kyodo) Alessandro Santos capped a memorable week with another double as Urawa Reds thrashed 10-man FC Tokyo 4-0 Saturday to go atop the J. League first division heading into the second half of the season.

Santos, two-goal hero in Japan's 2-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago in midweek, beat Yoichi Doi with a well-taken right-footed shot and added a rare header before Tatsuya Tanaka sealed victory in front of over 50,000 at Saitama Stadium 2002.

Victory put Urawa on 36 points from 17 games with Guido Buchwald's side ahead of Gamba Osaka on goal difference.

Sidiclei completed a 4-1 win for defending champions Gamba at lowly Kyoto Purple Sanga but Kawasaki Frontale, leaders at the start of the day, dropped to third after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Yokohama F Marinos in a local derby at Todoroki Stadium.

In Saitama, World Cup midfielder Shinji Ono sent new Japan manager Ivica Osim a timely reminder of his talents when he fired Urawa into the lead after just six minutes.

Ono, who watched Japan's win on Wednesday in the stands after being overlooked by Osim for his first game in charge, controlled Tanaka's flick and beat Doi with a sweetly struck volley.

Makoto Hasebe should have doubled the home side's lead but blazed over from close range in the 27th minute and Yohei Kajiyama almost punished Urawa when his long-range effort was brilliantly tipped over the bar by Norihiro Yamagishi.

Urawa just about deserved ts halftime lead but Tokyo's hope of hauling itself back into the game suffered a blow 10 minutes after the break when Masahiko Inoha's ugly challenge on Tadaaki Hirakawa earned his second yellow card and an early bath.

Urawa wasted no time in making its numerical advantage pay as Santos curled home from the edge of the box in the 56th minute.

The Brazilian-born winger nodded home Tanaka's back-post header before the latter slid home to complete the rout.

"Obviously I'm delighted to score two goals in front of our fans. I didn't play that well in the first half and was hoping I might get a goal in the second so to score two is great," said Santos.

In Kanagawa Prefecture, Kazuki Ganaha canceled out fellow Japan new boy Hayuma Tanaka's third-minute opener with his ninth goal of the season, while Yasuhito Endo scored one for Gamba at Nishikyogoku Stadium.

Elsewhere, a late strike from Masaki Fukai was part of Kashima's rally over Jubilo Iwata in a 3-3 thriller, while a double from Takuma Edamura kept Shimizu S-Pulse in fifth with a 2-1 win at Sanfrecce Hiroshima.

JEF United Chiba beat Albirex Niigata 2-1 away courtesy of Yuto Sato's 67th-minute effort and Keiji Tamada put Nagoya Grampus Eight on the way to a 5-1 demolition of Ventforet Kofu.

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