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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Magnum ends Urawa's run


By GUS FIELDING

SAITAMA (Kyodo) Magnum struck a second-half winner as Kawasaki Frontale beat Urawa Reds 2-1 to end their 25-match unbeaten home record in the J. League on Saturday.

News photo
Urawa Reds players look disappointed after their 25-match unbeaten streak at home was ended Saturday with a 2-1 loss to Kawasaki Frontale at Saitama Stadium. KYODO PHOTO

Kazuki Ganaha took advantage of slack marking to fire the visitors in front after 51 minutes and Magnum scored what proved to be the decider in an entertaining encounter between last season's league champions and runners-up.

Defeat was Urawa's first of the season and first at home since the defending champion was beaten by Oita Trinita on Sept. 10, 2005.

"It was a tough game but the players did well to hold on. We had never beaten Urawa in the league before so we really wanted it," said Kawasaki manager Takashi Sekizuka.

"We kept them at bay in the first half and the goals came at the right time for us and we were able to get a grip on the match."

Urawa enjoyed the lion's share of possession in a lively opening period at Saitama Stadium 2002 and the home side should have gone into the break at least a goal to the good.

Shinji Ono forced Eiji Kawashima into an acrobatic save in the 13th minute and the former Nagoya Grampus Eight 'keeper was on hand to deny Yuichiro Nagai with another fine stop just before the half hour mark.

Robson Ponte fired another promising chance wide and the Reds were made to pay when Ganaha, who had earlier brought a superb reaction save out of Ryota Tsuzuki, opened the scoring six minutes into the second half.

Masaru Kurotsu weaved his way into the box and squared for Ganaha to beat Yuki Abe to the ball and prod home and it was more poor marking that allowed Magnum to sneak in to double the visitors' advantage moments later.

Juninho swept a cross from the left into the danger zone and fellow Brazilian Magnum was afforded time and space by Abe and Makoto Hasebe to lift the ball past Tsuzuki.

Urawa hit back with a scrappy goal, Satoshi Horinouchi diving in bravely to bundle the ball inside the right-hand post with his upper arm, but despite a sustained spell of last pressure, Kawasaki held on for a well-earned win.

Nagoya Grampus Eight returned to the top of the table as goals from Norwegian international striker Frode Johnsen and Keita Sugimoto saw off Vissel Kobe 2-0.

Elsewhere, Yasuyuki Konno lifted FC Tokyo to its second win of the season with the only goal of the game against bottom club Yokohama FC, while Kohei Kudo's 60th-minute strike gave JEF United Chiba a 1-0 win at home to 10-man Omiya Ardija.

In the day's late games, Kazunari Hosaka scored twice in the last five minutes to give Ventforet Kofu a 3-2 win over Kashiwa Reysol and Atsushi Yanagisawa bagged a double in Kashima Antlers' 2-1 win at Shimizu S-Pulse. Sanfrecce Hiroshima against Albirex Niigata finished 0-0.

Sunday's matches see Gamba Osaka welcome the visit of Jubilo Iwata while Yokohama F. Marinos take on Oita Trinita.



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