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Thursday, Oct. 6, 2011
Gamba reaches semis after defeating Jubilo
SUITA, Osaka Pref. — J. League leader Gamba Osaka came from a goal down to beat holder Jubilo Iwata 3-1 on Wednesday to advance to the semifinals of the Nabisco Cup.
Daisuke Nasu gave Iwata an early lead at Expo Stadium but Hayato Sasaki leveled and Rafinha put the home side in front, before Nasu turned into his own net 14 minutes from time, setting Gamba up with a date in the last four on Sunday with Urawa Reds.
Urawa won 2-1 at Gamba's local rival Cerezo Osaka thanks to an 83rd-minute goal from Ranko Despotovic.
At Mizuho Stadium, Marcus Tulio Tanaka completed the scoring from the penalty spot with the last kick of the game as league champion Nagoya Grampus beat Albirex Niigata 5-3 after extra time.
Grampus will take on Kashima Antlers, who came from 2-0 down to beat Yokohama F. Marinos 3-2 after extra time, Yuzo Tashiro scoring the winner in the 111th minute at Kashima Stadium.
Gamba, Cerezo, Kashima and Nagoya all joined the competition from the quarterfinals due to their involvement in the Asian Champions League.
Iwata needed just seven minutes to go in front, Yuki Kobayashi taking a return pass from Hiroki Yamada to float the ball in for Nasu to put a glancing header past Yosuke Fujigaya.
Missing the creative spark of Yasuhito Endo, who is currently on national team duty, Gamba was unable to put together any flowing moves on a rain slick pitch, and Norihiro Nishi had the chance to double Iwata's lead but scuffed Yamada's pass well wide on 37 minutes.
But Sasaki found space to fashion an equalizer two minutes before the break, picking up Takumi Shimohira's pass to beat Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi with a blistering effort from just outside the area.
Takuya Takei tried his luck from distance with a skidding shot that was well held by Kawaguchi on 47 minutes, but the former Japan goalkeeper could do little as Rafinha slipped a first-time effort through his legs after a defense-splitting pass from substitute Afonso.
"I'm really pleased," said Rafinha. "We didn't play well in the first half but clicked in the second. It is a significant that we beat the defending champions."
"I might have scored but it was the pass from Afonso that did all the work. Hopefully we can start in the semifinal the same way we played in the second half tonight," said the Brazilian.
Nasu completed the scoring when he stuck his leg out to divert Sota Nakazawa's cross into the back of his own net.
The Nabisco Cup final is scheduled for Oct. 29.