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Monday, April 2, 2007

Grampus Eight remain perfect


By GUS FIELDING

YOKOHAMA (Kyodo) Quick-fire goals from Keita Sugimoto and Kei Yamaguchi ensured Nagoya Grampus Eight kept their 100 percent record intact with a 2-1 win away to Yokohama FC in the J. League first division on Sunday.

Hiroaki Namba gave Yokohama an undeserved lead midway through the second half, but Sugimoto quickly canceled out the home side's advantage and Yamaguchi scored the decider two minutes later to take Nagoya back to top of the table after four matches played.

Gamba Osaka is the only other team to boast a perfect record after a 2-1 win at Ventforet Kofu temporarily put them in first place on Saturday.

In Sunday's other match, Yuki Abe scored twice but Urawa Reds had to be content with a 2-2 draw away to Oita Trinita, who had Yuki Fukaya to thank for a last-minute equalizer at Kyushu Oil Dome.

At Mitsuzawa Stadium, Nagoya's injury concerns increased when former Japan goalkeeper Seigo Narazaki was stretchered off after 11 minutes but replacement Ryo Kushino was underemployed in a first half devoid of any entertainment.

Japan Under-22 midfielder Keisuke Honda saw a volley fisted away by Yokohama 'keeper Takanori Sugeno on 31 minutes, while Sugimoto was guilty of wasting the best chance of the half when he screwed wide after being sent clean through by Frode Johnsen moments earlier.

The game burst into life after the break with Nagoya defender Akira Takeuchi heading against the crossbar early on, but it was Yokohama that drew first blood against run of play when Namba scrambled home from close range in the 63rd minute.

The home side's joy lasted less than two minutes, though, as Sugimoto rose to beat Sugeno with a superb near-post header and the striker then turn provider for Kei Yamaguchi to seal the win by turning home his cross at the far post.



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