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Sunday, Oct. 18, 2009

News photo
Double up: Kawasaki striker Chong Tese scores his second goal in Frontale's 3-2 win over Omiya Ardija on Saturday. KYODO PHOTO

Antlers halt slump; Frontale win

IWATA, Shizuoka Pref. (Kyodo) Champion Kashima Antlers stopped the rot with a hard-fought 0-0 draw away to Jubilo Iwata in the J. League on Saturday.

Iwata had the better of the chances at Yamaha Stadium but Kashima stood firm to pick up its first point following a dismal run of five consecutive defeats.

With five games left, Kashima sits one point behind Kawasaki Frontale (52), who temporarily went top of the table after a 3-2 win at Omiya Ardija. Shimizu S-Pulse (50) can reclaim pole position with victory at rock-bottom Oita Trinita on Sunday.

Jubilo looked the livelier going forward in the first period, with South Korean striker Lee Keun Ho testing Hitoshi Sogahata with a low drive on the half hour mark.

It was much the same story after the break but Iwata lacked a cutting edge in front of goal on a rain-slick pitch, and Marquinhos almost snatched a winner for the visitors when he prodded just wide at the far post with eight minutes left.

"Soccer is a funny game. There have been games where we have played better than we did today and not taken any points," said Kashima manager Oswaldo Oliveira. "But it was a tough game. Jubilo are a strong side and we have to be happy with a point."

Frontale missed two penalties but held on to beat Omiya at Saitama Stadium thanks to a double from North Korean striker Chong Tese. Juninho, who opened the scoring after 22 minutes, and Chong both missed from the spot in the first half.

"There were four penalties and it was a game that could have gone either way," said Kawasaki midfielder Kengo Nakamura. "This is a big win for us."

Croatian defender Mato Neretljak converted two penalties for Ardija.

Elsewhere, third-placed Gamba Osaka drew 2-2 at Sanfrecce Hiroshima and have 50 points, while Hiroshima, Albirex Niigata, Urawa Reds and FC Tokyo are all four points further back.

At Nissan Stadium, Kenta Kano struck late on to give Yokohama F. Marinos a 2-1 win at home to Nagoya Grampus.

Montedio Yamagata got a boost in their bid to beat the drop with a 1-0 win at home to Vissel Kobe.

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