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Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2009

Kashima captain Ogasawara named player of year

Kyodo News

Fresh from helping Kashima Antlers to a record third J. League championship in succession, former Japan international Mitsuo Ogasawara was crowned player of the year on Monday.

News photo
Leader of the pack: Kashima Antlers captain Mitsuo Ogasawara has been named J. League player of the year. KYODO PHOTO

The 30-year-old midfielder becomes the second Kashima player in a row to pick up the award after Brazilian striker Marquinhos spearheaded Antlers' successful campaign in 2008 and finished top of the scoring charts.

"People have judged me by my performances over a season and I'm honored. I would like to thank everyone involved with Kashima," said Ogasawara.

Ryoichi Maeda won the Golden Boot after bagging a league-leading 20 goals for Jubilo Iwata.

"I am standing here with this award because I have been able to play with (former Jubilo strikers) Masashi Nakayama and Naohiro Takahara," said Maeda.

"But unlike them I haven't achieved anything. I haven't played at the World Cup. I hope I can be on a par with them one day."

Takahara was the last Japanese player to win the Golden Boot in 2002, when he was also named player of the year.

Kazuma Watanabe's haul of 13 goals earned the Yokohama F. Marinos striker the young player of the year award.

Gamba Osaka's Asian player of the year Yasuhito Endo was named to the Best XI for a record seventh time in succession.

Kashima's Brazilian coach Oswaldo Oliveira won the manager of the year award.

Tottenham blows lead

LONDON (AP) Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe missed a stoppage-time penalty as his side threw away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with struggling Everton in the Premier League on Sunday.

Defoe had put Spurs ahead two minutes into the second half and Michael Dawson doubled their advantage with more than half an hour remaining at Goodison Park.

But substitute striker Louis Saha began Everton's comeback with a 78th-minute goal and Australian midfielder Tim Cahill grabbed the equalizer on his 30th birthday to end the club's three-match losing streak in the league.

"We've had a bit of bad luck so it was nice to get that draw," Cahill said. "We tried our hardest. We went down, picked ourselves up and Tim Howard produced a great save and I guess there's a bit of justice."

Referee Andre Marriner gave Spurs a chance to reclaim the lead when he penalized Tony Hibbert for fouling Wilson Palacios in the penalty area.

But Defoe saw his tame spot kick saved by goalkeeper Tim Howard, who the striker could face again in England's World Cup opener against the United States next June.

"There looked to be only one winner. It was game over as we looked to be in control and I couldn't see any way we weren't going to go on and win," Spurs manager Harry Redknapp said. "We had chances to go 3-0 up and then they pulled a goal back. It was poor defending, we got sucked in and then suddenly the crowd get a lift."

The draw kept Tottenham in fourth place, one point behind Arsenal, which has a game in hand over its north London rival.

In Sunday's other match, Fulham moved back into the top half of the standings by beating Sunderland 1-0.

Chelsea's lead at the top was trimmed to two points Saturday when Carlo Ancelotti's side lost 2-1 at Manchester City and second-place Manchester United won 4-0 at West Ham.

While Chelsea and United have broken away from the chasing pack, Arsenal and Tottenham have stiff competition for the next two Champions League spots.

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