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Monday, Oct. 23, 2006

Gamba Osaka blows 2-goal lead in 2nd half

Kyodo News

Yasuyuki Konno, Norio Suzuki and Naohiro Ishikawa struck late second-half goals Sunday as FC Tokyo stormed back from two goals down to deal Gamba Osaka a severe blow in their title hopes with a 3-2 home win.

News photo
Gamba Osaka forward Ryuji Bando's shot is ruled offside during the first half of Sunday's J. League first-division match against FC Tokyo at Ajinomoto Stadium. FC Tokyo won 3-2. KYODO PHOTO

Konno, Suzuki and Ishikawa were on target in the space of seven minutes after Gamba looked like closing the gap on J. League leaders Urawa Reds with first-half strikes from Ryuji Bando and Magno Alves.

The result left defending champions Gamba with 56 points, six adrift of Urawa with six games left to play. Kawasaki Frontale, who drew 2-2 away at Urawa on Saturday, is third on 55.

At Ajinomoto Stadium, it was the visitors who seized control of the match and took what appeared to be a comfortable halftime lead through their prolific strike duo.

Bando opened the scoring after 12 minutes when the Japan striker chested down a pass from Magno Alves and beat FC Tokyo keeper Yoichi Doi with a clinical finish for his 16th goal of the season.

Magno Alves got on the scoresheet in the 25th minute to increase his tally to 18, two behind first-division leading scorer Washington of Urawa, after latching onto a superb long-range pass from playmaker Takahiro Futagawa and unleashing a shot from a tight angle.

Suzuki scored the sizzling equalizer from 20 meters into the top right corner beyond the reach of Yosuke Fujigaya and Ishikawa completed the remarkable comeback from 10 meters out after good work by Suzuki on the left flank.

In Sunday's other J. League match, Cerezo Osaka got out of the bottom of the 18-team table above Kyoto Purple Sanga after a 4-2 win at home to Sanfrecce Hiroshima thanks to a double from Yoshito Okubo.



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