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Monday, July 26, 2010

Juninho returns with winning goal

KAWASAKI (Kyodo) Juninho scored a minute from time in his return from a lengthy injury layoff as Kawasaki Frontale managed a 1-0 home win against lowly Kyoto Sanga in the J. League on Sunday.

News photo
Deep concentration: Kyoto's Takumi Miyayoshi (left) takes on Kawasaki's Hiroki Ito on Sunday. KYODO PHOTO

The Brazilian striker, who came on as a 62nd-minute substitute, hit a left-foot shot after latching on to an exquisite pass from Jumpei Kusukami.

Moments later, former Japan forward Atsushi Yanagisawa valiantly went for an equalizer but goalkeeper Takashi Aizawa palmed away his drive at Todoroki Stadium.

Kawasaki moved up to fourth in the table with 24 points, six behind leaders Kashima Antlers.

"It was a tough game. I'm so glad I played in front of these wonderful fans and hit the winner for them and the club," said Juninho, who had missed all of the previous 13 league matches this season with a recurring calf injury.

"It was the first time in my career that I couldn't play for such a long time. While in treatment in Brazil, I received a lot of warm video messages from fans. That's why I was able to come back like this. I'd like to say this is the beginning of my new career."

In other action, FC Tokyo earned a 3-1 win at Shonan Bellmare.

First-half goals from Masato Morishige and Naotake Hanyu put Tokyo in control. Masashi Oguro added a third in the 58th minute before Yuya Nakamura got one back four minute later for Shonan.

Vissel Kobe beat Omiya Ardija by the same scoreline.

FIFA visits Koreans

SEOUL (AP) A FIFA delegation praised South Korea's passion for soccer on Sunday as it ended a four-day inspection visit of the Asian country which is bidding to host the 2022 World Cup.

The five-member team, led by Chilean Football Federation president Harold Mayne-Nicholls, has toured stadiums, communication facilities and a national training center in South Korea during its tour of the country.

South Korea, which co-hosted the 2002 World Cup with neighbor Japan, is competing with Australia, Qatar, Japan and the United States for the 2022 World Cup. FIFA will choose the 2022 host on Dec. 2.

"After eight years I was able to see that the legacy of the (2002) World Cup is not only in the stadiums but seems to be on everybody in the country," Mayne-Nicholls said in Seoul. "The passion for the game seems to be growing everyday."

Guti leaving Real

MADRID (AP) Midfielder Jose Maria "Guti" Gutierrez is leaving Real Madrid after 15 seasons with the Spanish giant.

Guti, who had another year to run on his contract, says he is considering an offer from Turkish club Besiktas.

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