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Monday, July 25, 2011

Montedio double up fellow strugglers Avispa


FUKUOKA — Montedio Yamagata picked up three crucial points in their bid to beat the drop with a deserved 2-0 win at fellow strugglers Avispa Fukuoka in the J. League first division on Sunday.

Masaru Akiba opened the scoring in the first half with a rasping drive and substitute Yu Hasegawa finished Fukuoka off 18 minutes from time at Level-5 Stadium to give the visitors their first win in seven matches.

Yamagata moved within seven points of safety while rock bottom Fukuoka, with just eight points from 18 games, look increasingly likely to make a swift return to the wilderness of J2.

"We haven't been winning so obviously we are pleased to get the points," said Akiba. "Hopefully we can use this as a platform to build on."

Yamagata made all the early running and should have taken the lead on 10 minutes, when Kohei Miyazaki burst past Shogo Kobara only to scuff his shot wide.

Tetsuya Okubo then poked wide but the visitors went in front on the half-hour mark, Akiba uncorking an unstoppable shot past Yuji Rokutan and into the left-hand corner.

Yamagata continued to lay siege to the Fukuoka goal and it was only a smart stop from Rokutan at his near post that prevented Okubo from doubling the lead on 33 minutes.

Fukuoka made a fist of it in the second half, Kosuke Nakamichi's shot going just wide after connecting with substitute Jun Suzuki's free kick, but Yu Hasegawa made the points safe for Yamagata with a brave diving header.

Kagawa stays busy


Gelsenkirchen, Germany — Shinji Kagawa was pleased to get 90 minutes under his belt despite the disappointment of Borussia Dortmund's 4-3 penalty shootout defeat to Atsuto Uchida's Schalke in the German Super Cup on Saturday.

"That was my first 90 minutes of the season in this sort of atmosphere and to be honest it was exhausting," said the Japan midfielder, who did not take a penalty in the shootout that followed a 0-0 stalemate after 90 minutes.

"What with the travel and the training camp and the match, it is a really tough time of year. Obviously I can't use that as an excuse but I am happy that I was able to play 90 minutes."

"It's a shame I couldn't take a penalty. I think I was about sixth in the order," added Kagawa, who missed most of the second half of Dortmund's championship-winning season last term with a broken foot.

Uchida was kept on the bench by Schalke.

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