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Sunday, May 27, 2007

'King Kazu' propels Yokohama FC past Oita

YOKOHAMA (Kyodo) Striker Kazuyoshi Miura rolled back the years with another goal to help lift promoted Yokohama FC off the bottom of the J. League first division with a 2-1 win at home to Oita Trinita on Saturday.

News photo
Kobe forward Yoshito Okubo (13) competes with Kashiwa Reysol forward Franca for the ball during Saturday's game at Home's Stadium. Vissel won 2-1. KYODO PHOTO

"King Kazu," whose sensational goal against Sanfrecce Hiroshima two weeks ago made him the J. League's oldest Japanese scorer at 40 years old, collected a cross from the left from Kunihiko Takizawa and swept the home side into a 22nd-minute lead at Mitsuzawa Stadium.

Takizawa was also the architect for Yokohama's second, the former JEF United Chiba man providing the cross for Tomoya Uchida to head home what proved to be the decider 16 minutes from time.

Shota Matsuhashi replied for Oita, but the visitors were unable to avoid slipping to a third defeat in four league matches.

"It was quite taxing out there today but Takizawa sent in a great ball for me and I'm obviously pleased to score," said Miura.

"We played really well in the first half and I feel that the team is heading in the right direction," added Miura, who earned a glowing tribute from Yokohama manager Takuya Takagi.

"Kazu has been a role model both on and off the pitch for us," said Takagi.

"Our players still have a tendency to show weaknesses mentally but Kazu can always be relied upon to take care of them. I'm delighted both for him and myself that he scored today."

Yokohama's third win of the season meant it temporarily swapped places with Omiya Ardija to move up to second from bottom. Omiya visits Kawasaki Frontale on Sunday.

Elsewhere, Norwegian international striker Frode Johnsen scored for the second week in a row, his 33rd-minute effort giving Nagoya Grampus Eight a 1-0 win over FC Tokyo.

In Saturday's other evening game, Sanfreece Hiroshima beat visiting Shimizu S-Pulse 2-1 thanks to Yosuke Kashiwagi's 79th-minute winner.

One-time Japan forward Yoshito Okubo took his tally for the season to eight by heading both goals in Vissel Kobe's 2-1 win at home to Kashiwa Reysol. Kashima Antlers beat Ventforet Kofu for the second time this week, goals from Daiki Iwamasa and Ryuta Sasaki securing the points and extending the Antlers' unbeaten run to five matches.

Defending champions Urawa Reds take on Yokohama F. Marinos at Saitama Stadium 2002 and Jubilo Iwata face Albirex Niigata in Sunday's other fixtures.

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