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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Escudero lifts Reds to hard-earned victory over Reysol

Staff writer

Urawa Reds dug deep to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat and jumped back to the top of the J. League with a 3-2 win over Kashiwa Reysol on Tuesday.

News photo
Kicking it hard: Vissel forward Hiroto Mogi (left) fires a shot during the second half of Tuesday's game against Montedio Yamagata at Home's Stadium. Host Kobe won 3-1. KYODO PHOTO

Goals from Hideaki Kitajima and Naoki Ishikawa canceled out Edmilson's 11th-minute opener at a rain-drenched National Stadium, giving Reysol a halftime lead that looked destined to survive despite a furious barrage from an Urawa side unbeaten since the opening day of the season.

But Reds' persistence eventually paid off as Edmilson pressured the Kashiwa defense into an 84th-minute own goal, three minutes before Sergio Escudero pounced for the first goal of his club career.

With Kashima Antlers otherwise engaged in the Asian Champions League, the win was enough to send Urawa into first place. But manager Volker Finke was all too aware the outcome could have been very different.

"Over the whole season these are big points," he said. "I expected it to be difficult because we have a team that is not in the best condition for five games in two weeks.

"They were fighting, which was nice, but they are not on this level to do so much running. I know the difficulties we have now. They need exercise."

After 10 minutes of slipping and sliding on a greasy surface, it was fitting that the opening goal was no great work of beauty.

Robson Ponte swung in a corner that Marcus Tulio Tanaka headed on, and Edmilson lunged in at the back post to bundle the ball over the line and injure himself in the process.

Reds kept up the pressure, but the next goal would be Kashiwa's. Yuzo Kobayashi came out strongest from a 50-50 challenge with Hajime Hosogai, and the 23-year-old whipped in a cross that Kitajima stole in front of the Urawa defense to meet for the equalizer.

Tulio went close to restoring Reds' lead shortly after, but again Kashiwa scored against the run of play.

A needless handball by Edmilson gave Minoru Suganuma the chance to aim a free-kick into the box, and Keisuke Tsuboi cleared only as far as Ishikawa, teeing up a sweet left-foot volley that thundered past Ryota Tsuzuki.

Suganuma almost edged the home side further ahead with a clever free kick that caught Tsuzuki flat-footed at his far post, but it was a rare moment in a second half dominated by Urawa.

Minutes after Edmilson had forced the error that gave Reds a late equalizer direct from a corner, the Brazilian rampaged forward to set up the winner.

Edmilson's shot cannoned back off goalkeeper Takanori Sugeno, and 20-year-old Escudero was on hand to take advantage.

"I think it was good that he was in the game and that he got the goal," Finke said of the naturalized-Argentine striker. "For his feeling and for his shape it is good."

Jubilo rally for draw

Kyodo News

Gilsinho grabbed his second goal of the game from the penalty spot in the dying seconds as Jubilo Iwata came from three goals down to earn a 3-3 draw away to Albirex Niigata on Tuesday in the J. League, while promoted Montedio Yamagata went down 3-1 away to Vissel Kobe.

Kyoto Sanga snapped a four-match losing streak with Paulinho and Diego on target in a 2-0 win at home to Yokohama F. Marinos, while Naoki Ishihara wrapped up the scoring as Omiya Ardija prevailed 3-0 and handed Oita Trinita their seventh consecutive defeat in the process.

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