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Monday, Oct. 4, 2010

Tokyo edges clear of drop zone

Kyodo News

FC Tokyo pulled themselves out of the drop zone while ushering Shonan Bellmare closer toward the relegation trapdoor Sunday with a comfortable 3-0 win in the J. League first division.

News photo
Capital gains: FC Tokyo striker Masashi Oguro (right) looks for a way past Shonan Bellmare on Sunday. KYODO PHOTO

Two first-half goals in the space of just 30 seconds from Masashi Oguro and Naohiro Ishikawa, and a late third by Ricardinho secured the points for the Gasmen and left Shonan needing a Houdini act to escape demotion.

Tokyo itself is far from safe though, and sits just one point above third-from-bottom Vissel Kobe after registering its first league win since July — when it beat the same opponent 3-1 at Sagami Bay.

Shonan, meanwhile, appears all but doomed after just one season in the top flight. With nine games left, Yasuharu Sorimachi's side remains rooted to the foot of the table, nine points adrift of Tokyo.

"It's difficult to find bad things to say about our performance today, that's how well we played," said Sorimachi.

"It's a fact that we have scored more goals than FC Tokyo, so it's not surprising that we had so many chances. The difference was that they took their chances and we didn't. We just have to pick ourselves up for our next game and keep on fighting."

The deadlock was broken seven minutes before the break when former World Cup striker Oguro prodded in on the turn after Shonan had left Yasuyuki Konno completely unmarked to head down Ishikawa's corner.

The home fans had barely finished celebrating that goal when Ishikawa brought them to their feet again seconds later, burying Sota Hirayama's layoff into the corner to double the advantage.

Kiyoshi Okuma's men looked content to sit on their two-goal cushion as Shonan pushed to salvage something from the game, but Ricardinho smashed the third into the right-hand corner to put the match to bed six minutes from time.

The victory was also Tokyo's first since Okuma took over following the recent dismissal of Hiroshi Jofuku.

"We won 3-0 but we allowed Shonan too much space and they should have scored first," said Okuma. "We did well over the 90 minutes but our pace dropped in the second half and I felt that some players didn't have the stamina to last the whole game."

In the day's only other fixture, Jubilo Iwata held Yokohama F. Marinos to a goalless draw at Yamaha Stadium.

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