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Monday, July 28, 2008

Reds save point in stormy Kashima

KASHIMA, Ibaraki Pref. (Kyodo) Tatsuya Tanaka came to Urawa Reds' rescue with a late equalizer in a storm-interrupted 1-1 draw at Kashima Antlers in the J. League on Sunday.

News photo
Charged up: Kashima Antlers midfielder Mitsuo Ogasawara tussles for the ball with Urawa Reds striker Tatsuya Tanaka on Sunday night. The match was interrupted by a first-half thunderstorm, but both players scored as play resumed, ending in a 1-1 draw. KYODO PHOTO

Mitsuo Ogasawara's thunderbolt looked to have done enough to send Kashima four points clear at the top of the league, but Tanaka scrambled home with seven minutes left to ensure it was honors even between the two heavyweights.

The result leaves defending champion Kashima two points ahead of Urawa and Nagoya Grampus, which drew 1-1 at Kawasaki Frontale on Saturday.

Referee Toshimitsu Yoshida was forced to order both teams off the pitch shortly before halftime because of a violent thunderstorm that suspended play for over an hour at Kashima Stadium.

But Ogasawara sparked the game into life within minutes of the game resuming, the pint-size midfielder collecting a Danilo flick-on to beat Ryota Tsuzuki with an unstoppable half volley.

Marcus Tulio Tanaka almost capitalized on a blunder by Hitoshi Sogahata, firing over midway through the second half after the Kashima keeper had let a cross slip from his grasp.

But Tanaka snatched the equalizer when he bundled in Edmilson's cross at the far post following good work from substitute Sergio Escudero.

Omiya Ardija's 0-0 draw with Shimizu S-Pulse kicked off almost 90 minutes late because of the thunderstorms.

In the day's other match, Marcio Richardes and Alessandro were both on target as Albirex Niigata edged lowly Consadole Sapporo 2-1.

Hulk set to join Porto

Kyodo News

Tokyo Verdy's Brazilian striker Hulk is to move to Portuguese champions Porto, the J. League first-division club said Sunday.

Hulk joined Kawasaki Frontale in 2005 and had spells at Consadole Sapporo and Verdy, where he scored 37 league goals to top last year's second-division scoring charts, before rejoining Frontale this season.

However, he failed to fit in at Todoroki Stadium and moved to Verdy just one month into the 2008 campaign. The 22-year-old has scored a total of 70 goals in 102 J. League appearances.

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