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Sunday, Dec. 14, 2008

Jubilo stays up after playoff win

IWATA, Shizuoka Pref. (Kyodo) Takuya Matsuura struck twice to help Jubilo Iwata avoid the drop after a 2-1 win over second-division Vegalta Sendai in the second leg of the J. League promotion-relegation playoff on Saturday.

Matsuura, whose crucial away goal rescued a draw in Wednesday's first leg in Sendai, struck in the 42nd minute at Yamaha Stadium and guaranteed once-dominant Jubilo top-flight soccer next season when he hit the second 19 minutes from time to seal a 3-2 aggregate victory. Ryang Yong Gi replied with a late consolation for Sendai.

"It was a roller-coaster season," said Hans Ooft, who was appointed as Jubilo manager for a second time after the Dutchman replaced Atsushi Uchiyama in September.

"We made a lot of mistakes, but we can learn from those mistakes. We'll do much better next season."

The J. League will scrap the playoff, which sees the 16th-placed team in the first division meet the third-placed team in J2, in favor of a three-up, three-down format next term following the increase in the number of second-division teams from 15 to 18.

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