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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Yanagisawa strikes twice to lift Sendai to victory


SENDAI — Former Japan striker Atsushi Yanagisawa scored twice as Vegalta Sendai maintained their grip on the J. League's top spot on Saturday with a 4-1 thrashing of rock bottom Consadole Sapporo.

Victory kept Sendai two points clear of second-place Sanfrecce Hiroshima, who whipped Cerezo Osaka 4-1 away, Naoki Ishihara grabbing a late brace for the visitors as league action resumed after the international break.

"We wanted to restart with a bang," said Sendai coach Makoto Teguramori, whose side had gone into the international break on the back of a 3-2 defeat to Kawasaki Frontale.

"We were well prepared and weren't going to rush things even if we couldn't score in the first half. We were in control and that showed in the second half."

Urawa Reds moved into third place a further three points adrift, an injury-time strike from Tsukasa Umesaki, earning a 2-1 win at Gamba Osaka, who like Sapporo remain firmly entrenched in the relegation quagmire.

Looking doomed to a swift return to the backwaters of J2, Sapporo stayed rooted to the foot of the table with just four points from 14 games, and it was Yanagisawa and strike partner Wilson who masterminded their downfall at Yurtec Stadium.

Yanagisawa opened his account for the season with his first goal at Yurtec to put Sendai into the lead deep into time added on at the end of the first half, the 35-year-old heading in Wilson's cross from 11 meters.

"It (the first goal) was a bit lucky and everyone was saying it was an own goal," said Yanagisawa. "For me personally I wanted a proper goal at Yurtec and I am glad I was able to score one with the second at the start of the first half."

Yanagisawa then doubled his tally and Sendai's advantage when he drove home Yoshiaki Ota's pass two minutes into the second period.

An own goal from Jiro Kamata pulled one back for Sapporo moments later, but Wilson put his name on the scoresheet with his sixth goal of the season to restore the home side's two-goal cushion in the 56th minute, the Brazilian heading in a cross from North Korean midfielder Ryang Yong Gi.

Ryang's corner provided the fourth for substitute Takayuki Nakahara to head in and wrap up the scoring 18 minutes from time.

Elsewhere, Kawasaki Frontale climbed into fourth as Yusuke Tasaka's 80th-minute header earned a 1-0 win at Sagan Tosu and Masaaki Yanagishita made a winning start as manager of Albirex Niigata, Seiya Fujita's goal seeing the Swans past Shimizu S-Pulse 1-0.

Yokohama F. Marinos beat FC Tokyo by the same scoreline courtesy of Shingo Hyodo's first-half effort, while a hat-trick from Keijiro Ogawa earned Vissel Kobe a 3-1 win at Jubilo Iwata. Champions Kashiwa Reysol won 4-2 at Omiya Ardija.

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