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Monday, May 21, 2007

Kobe finally ends jinx against Jubilo

IWATA, Shizuoka Pref. (Kyodo) Brazilian striker Leandro scored twice as Vissel Kobe ended their Jubilo Iwata jinx with a 3-2 win in the J . League on Sunday.

Kobe had not beaten Iwata in any of their previous 18 league meetings and it looked like it was not going to be their day again after Hiroshi Matsuda's men squandered a two-goal lead at Yamaha Stadium.

"We lost our rhythm after we went 2-0 up but managed to get it back in the second half and we are glad we could take the points," said match-winner Leandro.

Kobe got off to a great start and took the lead after 11 minutes. Yusuke Kondo reacted quickly to tap home from close range after Yoshito Okubo's effort had come back off the post and Leandro made it 2-0 four minutes later with a crisp finish.

Bobby Cullen pulled one back for Iwata with a header just before the half-hour mark and Sho Naruoka equalized seven minutes before the break by diving to head home Fabricio's cross at the far post.

But Leandro had the last word when he raced on to a Kondo pass and smashed past Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi at his near post.

The win put Kobe in ninth place on 17 points, one behind Iwata and eight adrift of leaders Gamba Osaka, who beat Kashiwa Reysol 2-1 on Saturday.

In the day's other game, FC Tokyo edged Yokohama F. Marinos 1-0 at Nissan Stadium. Takashi Fukunishi's 70th-minute strike was all the Gasmen needed for the win.

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