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Sunday, Aug. 10, 2008

Maki double sparks JEF United upset of league-leading Antlers

CHIBA (Kyodo) Japan striker Seiichiro Maki struck twice in the second half as bottom club JEF United handed leaders Kashima Antlers a shock 3-1 defeat in the J. League on Saturday.

Urawa Reds and Nagoya Grampus, however, failed to capitalize on the Kashima slip-up to go top of the table. Urawa drew 2-2 with Kashiwa Reysol and Nagoya went down 1-0 to FC Tokyo to remain second and third in the first division, respectively.

At Fukuda Denshi Arena, Eddy Bosnar put the home side ahead with a 43rd-minute goal and Maki doubled the lead when he headed in a free kick from Kohei Kudo in the 69th minute.

Masashi Motoyama pulled one back for Kashima two minutes later, only to see Maki grab his second with another header 12 minutes from time.

The result leaves Kashima with 35 points from 20 games, one ahead of the Reds, who shared the spoils with Kashiwa following a goal from Yuichiro Nagai in the dying minutes. Nagoya is another point behind after Sota Hirayama struck the only goal of the game for FC Tokyo in the 36th minute.

Kawasaki Frontale drew level with Nagoya on points after a 2-1 win at Kyoto Sanga thanks to a double from Masaru Kurotsu. Yokohama F. Marinos downed Gamba Osaka 2-1 with Daisuke Sakata snatching a second-half winner.

Elsewhere, Kazunori Iio struck twice in the first 20 minutes to lead Tokyo Verdy to a 4-0 demolition of Albirex Niigata. Oita Trinita and Shimizu S-Pulse played out a 2-2 draw while Omiya Ardija beat Consadole Sapporo 2-1 and Vissel Kobe defeated Jubilo Iwata 1-0.

Ronaldo returns

MANCHESTER , England (AP) Cristiano Ronaldo returned to Manchester United on Friday as manager Alex Ferguson said he wants to extend the winger's contract and warned Real Madrid to stay away from his players.

Ferguson also said Ronaldo, who played with an ankle injury as United won English and European titles in May, will begin full training in a month. Ronaldo scored 42 goals last season, then had surgery in early July following Portugal's elimination from the European Championship.

"There are very few players who left me against my will," Ferguson said. "(Madrid) now know they are dealing with a different animal and Cristiano will settle down and enjoy his career here. He has got four years left on his contract and, at some point, hopefully we would like to extend it."

Ferguson has an unlikely ally in Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who welcomed Ronaldo staying as a victory for clubs over players.

"Somewhere common sense and contracts have prevailed," Wenger said. "You would not like to think that one of the biggest players in the world can just walk out and does not respect his contract."

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