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Thursday, July 28, 2011

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Take control: Frontale's Yu Kobayashi moves the ball against Hiroshima during their Nabisco Cup match on Wednesday in Kawasaki. KYODO

Lee leads late onslaught as Gamba rolls through Antlers


KASHIMA, Chiba Pref. — Gamba Osaka erupted for three goals in the final 10 minutes as the former Asian champions embarrassed Kashima Antlers 4-1 away in the J. League on Wednesday.

In a clash between two Asian Champions League teams, Lee Keun Ho struck twice during the nightmarish ending for Kashima with new Brazilian import Rafinha adding another in his Gamba debut.

Midfielder Takuya Takei had opened the scoring early for the visitors before Chikashi Masuda leveled midway through the first half at Kashima Stadium.

The defeat was the fourth in the last five games for Oswaldo Oliveira's side, who are in 14th place, 18 points behind J1 leaders Yokohama F. Marinos.

Gamba, on 33 points at the halfway point of the season, moved within four points of Marinos with a game to spare. Nishino said the victory was huge for his team points-wise, as well as from a morale standpoint.

"We've played everyone once now, and I think we're starting to figure out what kind of a team we are for this season," Nishino said. "This win is big from a lot of perspectives because Antlers are Antlers, no matter how low they are in the table."

"To beat a good team like them means a lot."

Gamba went in front after just seven minutes, Kim Seung Yong breaking down the Kashima defense from the left before laying off to Takei, who smashed the first goal of his career into the top corner.

It wasn't quite the start Antlers were looking for after they lost away to Kashiwa Reysol at the weekend, but the seven-time champions clawed their way back in the 19th minute through a scrappy effort by Masuda.

Takuya Nozawa fired in a relatively harmless free kick but Gamba keeper Yosuke Fujigaya, perhaps blinded by the congestion in the box, failed to get a handle on things as the ball ricocheted off him.

Masuda swept home the rebound from point-blank range to restore parity, the midfielder's third goal of the campaign.

A draw looked to be on the horizon until the 80th minute, when Lee moved the visitors back out in front with his first goal of the night.

Rafinha, who took the pitch five minutes past the hour, made it 3-1 three minutes later, finishing off a break keyed by fellow substitute Hayato Sasaki.

Gamba poured salt in Antlers' wounds on 88 minutes as Rafinha unleashed Lee, who hit past goalkeeper Hitoshi Sogahata for a second time to cap the rout.

Jubilo dismantles Avispa


Fukuoka — Holders Jubilo Iwata comfortably defeated Avispa Fukuoka 3-0 to reach the second round of the Nabisco Cup on Wednesday.

Kenichi Kaga, Gilsinho and Tomoyuki Arata all found the net in the second leg for Jubilo, who safely made it to the next phase of the league cup competition in September with a 5-0 aggregate win.

Jubilo will face Vegalta Sendai on Sept. 14 and 28 for a berth in the quarterfinals. Sendai, meanwhile, defeated Kashiwa Reysol 2-1 at home for a 3-1 win over the two legs to advance.

Urawa Reds knocked out Montedio Yamagata 2-1 for a sweeping 4-1 aggregate victory and will next face Omiya Ardija, while Kawasaki Frontale beat Sanfrecce Hiroshima 3-1.

Kawasaki will go toe-to-toe with Yokohama F Marinos in the second round. J1 leaders Marinos edged Vissel Kobe 2-1 away for a 3-2 triumph in the two games to set up a Kanagawa derby in the next round.

Shimizu rolled to a 2-0 home win over Ventforet Kofu for a 2-1 aggregate victory, with S-Pulse next set to play Albirex Niigata.

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