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Monday, Nov. 9, 2009

Renatinho hits hat-trick as Kawasaki triumphs over Chiba

KAWASAKI (Kyodo) Renatinho provided J-League leaders Kawasaki Frontale with the perfect tonic for their Nabisco Cup hangover with a hat-trick in a thrilling 3-2 win over JEF United Chiba on Sunday.

Kawasaki Frontale's Renatinho
The clincher: Kawasaki Frontale's Renatinho celebrates his second goal against JEF United Chiba Sunday night at Todoroki Stadium. KYODO PHOTO

Chiba took a shock lead through Kohei Kudo's first-half strike but Renatinho leveled from the penalty spot before the Brazilian striker's deflected second put the home side in front with 19 minutes left.

Takumi Wada scrambled home two minutes from time to give the visitors a flicker of hope but Renatinho completed his hat-trick with a dramatic injury-time winner to condemn Chiba to relegation to the second division.

The result kept Kawasaki a point clear of reigning champions Kashima Antlers, 2-0 winners over Montedio Yamagata, with three games of the season left to play.

Gamba Osaka also remained in contention for the title after a Pedro Junior double helped lift the former Asian club champions to a 4-1 win over Kyoto Sanga but Shimizu S-Pulse suffered a stunning 5-0 defeat at relegation-threatened Kashiwa Reysol.

Reysol moved to within six points of safety after Omiya Ardija were sunk by a late Tomoaki Makino goal in a 1-0 defeat at home to Sanfrecce Hiroshima.

Chances were at a premium in a scrappy first half at Todoroki Stadium although Kawasaki were unlucky not to go in front after 19 minutes.

Chong Tese rose to meet Juninho's left-wing cross but the North Korean striker's header came back off the post before Chiba managed to steer the ball to safety.

Masaki Fukai forced Eiji Kawashima into an important block at the other end and it was the visitors who took the lead against the run of play on 36 minutes.

Fukai's cross was headed against the bar by Seiichiro Maki and Kudo was on hand to prod the ball home from close range. Kudo should have doubled Chiba's lead shortly before halftime but was left holding his head in his hands after blasting Tatsuya Yazawa's pass into the side netting.

That miss was to prove costly as Kawasaki drew level 11 minutes after the break. Eddy Bosnar was adjudged to have tripped Kengo Nakamura in the box and Renatinho gave Chiba keeper Masahiro Okamoto no chance with the ensuing spot kick.

Kawasaki moved up a gear and went in front when Renatinho's shot clipped veteran defender Masataka Sakamoto and beat stranded Okamoto.

Frontale looked to have squandered the chance to take maximum points when Wada snatched Chiba's equalizer but Juninho raced up the other end and picked out Renatinho to seal victory in the dying seconds.

At Kashima Stadium, Shinzo Koroki latched onto a perfectly weighted pass from Mitsuo Ogasawara to fire Kashima in front on 21 minutes and earned a penalty which Marquinhos converted for his 13th league goal of the season.

Elsewhere, FC Tokyo, 2-0 winners over Frontale in Tuesday's Nabisco Cup final, were brought back to earth with a 1-0 defeat at home to Urawa Reds, Edmilson clinching victory for the Reds, who had Genki Haraguchi sent off after 54 minutes.

Igor Burzanovic gave Nagoya Grampus a 1-0 win over 10-man Vissel Kobe while Hideo Oshima scored both goals as Albirex Niigata won 2-0 at Jubilo Iwata.

Already relegated Oita Trinita pulled off a surprise 2-1 win away to Yokohama F Marinos thanks to goals from Fernandinho and Hiroshi Kiyotake.

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