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Monday, Sept. 7, 2009

FC Tokyo, Frontale win through to set up Nabisco Cup final clash

Kyodo News

FC Tokyo set up a date with Kawasaki Frontale in the final of the Nabisco Cup after a 1-0 win over Shimizu S-Pulse in the second leg of Sunday's semifinals.

Sota Hirayama headed the winner on 17 minutes at Ajinomoto Stadium to seal a 3-2 aggregate victory, while Kawasaki drew 1-1 at Yokohama F. Marinos and went through 3-1 overall to the Nov. 3 final at National Stadium.

"It was a difficult game over two legs but we are delighted to make the final," said Tokyo midfielder Naotake Hanyu, who set up Hirayama's winner and will be making his third appearance in the final having won the Nabisco Cup twice with JEF United Chiba.

"We were up for the game from the start today and think we put in a good overall performance. This will be the third time in the final for me and hopefully I will be able to help Tokyo win the cup."

Leading 2-0 from Wednesday's first leg, Kawasaki had defender Yusuke Igawa sent off after 69 minutes and Koji Yamase converted from the resulting penalty to put Yokohama in front.

Marinos were unable to make their numerical advantage pay and had goalkeeper Hiroki Iikura sent off two minutes from time before Juninho struck Kawasaki's equalizer in the dying seconds.

Frontale reached their third Nabisco final and first since losing to Gamba Osaka 1-0 in 2007. FC Tokyo beat Urawa Reds on penalties after a 0-0 draw in its only previous appearance in the final in 2004.



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