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Friday, Dec. 26, 2008

Early goals send Gamba to semis

KOBE (Kyodo) Lucas and Sota Nakazawa scored early in the first half as Asian champion Gamba Osaka advanced to the Emperor's Cup semifinals with a 2-0 win over Nagoya Grampus on Thursday.

News photo
Christmas cracker: Gamba Osaka's Lucas takes the plaudits after opening the scoring in his side's 2-1 Emperor's Cup quarterfinal win over Nagoya Grampus on Thursday. KYODO PHOTO

Gamba, the third-place finisher at the recently concluded Club World Cup, set up a semifinal meeting Monday with Yokohama F. Marinos, who reached the final four last Saturday along with FC Tokyo and Kashiwa Reysol.

Brazilian striker Lucas gave Gamba a 14th-minute lead with a shot from outside the penalty area and defender Nakazawa headed in a Hideo Hashimoto cross nine minutes later at Kobe Universiade stadium.

Gamba carried its momentum into the second half and appeared on course for an easy win before substitute Keita Sugimoto pulled one back for Nagoya in the 71st minute.

Frode Johnsen, Sugimoto and Magnum then went close for Nagoya, but Gamba goalkeeper Yosuke Fujigaya preserved the lead with a string of great saves.

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