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Monday, May 17, 2010

Antlers blast Grampus to ease pain of ACL exit

TOYOTA, Aichi Pref. (Kyodo) Snubbed national team striker Shinzo Koroki and Marquinhos were both on target as Kashima Antlers put their Asian Champions League heartbreak behind them with an emphatic 4-1 win away to Nagoya Grampus in the J. League on Sunday.

News photo
Going nowhere: Kashima's Daiki Iwamasa and Mitsuo Ogasawara get to grips with Nagoya's Josh Kennedy on Sunday. KYODO PHOTO

Victory would have sent Grampus into the World Cup break level on points with leader Shimizu S-Pulse, but Dragan Stojkovic's men instead ended up trudging off the pitch with boos ringing in their ears after Kashima had run riot at Toyota Stadium.

"It is a very huge defeat for us losing at home 4-1," said Stojkovic. "It's very tough but we played against the champions today and Kashima Antlers showed us why they are champions."

Antlers, who crashed out of the ACL after a 1-0 defeat at home to defending champions Pohang Steelers of South Korea on Wednesday, moved into third spot on 21 points, one behind Nagoya and four behind S-Pulse but with a game in hand.

Shimizu squandered a two-goal cushion and with it a golden opportunity to rebound from its first defeat of the season in a 2-2 draw away to FC Tokyo on Saturday.

In other games on Sunday, reserve World Cup striker Ryoichi Maeda was on the scoresheet as Jubilo Iwata romped to a 3-1 win at home to Kawasaki Frontale, while Omiya Ardija against Sanfrecce Hiroshima finished goalless.

Shoki Hirai bagged a brace to lead Gamba Osaka to a 3-1 win at Shonan Bellmare, who slipped to the bottom of the table.

"With the quality Nagoya have got we were expecting a tough game, so it is very pleasing to get a win like this," said Kashima manager Oswaldo Oliveira.

"We started the season with big ambitions and we have not been able to achieve one of our targets (to win the ACL). But there is trust between the players and myself and we still have the chance in the league and other domestic cup competitions."

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