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Monday, Sept. 18, 2006

Maeda scores winner in thriller

KAWASAKI (Kyodo) Kawasaki Frontale's preparations for their Nabisco Cup semifinal with holders JEF United Chiba suffered a setback Sunday after a 4-3 defeat at home to Jubilo Iwata in the J-League first division.

Kawasaki twice led through Kazuki Ganaha and Juninho but Iwata fought back and took home a deserved three points after Ryoichi Maeda scored what proved to be the winner in the 88th minute of a topsy-turvy affair at Todoroki Stadium.

Defeat for Kawasaki left it five points adrift of leaders Gamba Osaka, who it next faces after the league cup second-leg tie away to JEF United on Wednesday. Jubilo, which is all but out of the title race, climbed into seventh place.

In the day's other game, Bare scored a goal in each half to help Ventforet Kofu to a 3-2 win at home to Omiya Ardija.

Riding high after last week's 7-0 demolition of Albirex Niigata, Jubilo started brightly in a constant downpour in Kanagawa Prefecture and Yoshiaki Ota stung Takashi Aizawa's palms with a fierce drive after just 54 seconds.

But it was Kawasaki which took the lead in the 16th minute with its first chance of the game. Juninho laid the ball off to Ganaha and the Okinawan striker let fly to give World Cup goalkeeper Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi no chance.

Ota was proving to be a handful and Yoshinobu Minowa reacted to clear the danger after Aizawa had fumbled another shot from the lively 23-year-old midfielder after 20 minutes.

Jubilo continued to dominate with Kawasaki looking to hit it on the break and the visitors were finally rewarded for their efforts eight minutes before the interval.

Aizawa could only push Ota's right wing cross into the path of Takashi Fukunishi and the former Japan midfielder's downward shot beat defender Shuhei Terada on the goal line.

But the home side's joy proved short-lived as Bobby Cullen stretched to poke home the equalizer from Toshihiro Hattori's cross.

Fukunishi was denied by the woodwork for the second time when his header came back off the post but veteran striker Masashi Nakayama stooped to head Iwata in front on 79 minutes and Maeda rolled into an empty net to extend his side's lead after good work from the industrious Ota.



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