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Emerson nets pair as Reds extend lead

Brazilian striker Emerson scored in each half Saturday as second-stage leader Urawa Reds hammered JEF United Ichihara 4-0 to open up a five-point lead in the J. League.

News photoGamba Osaka’s Masashi Oguro (16) is congratulated by his
teammates after scoring a goal in the first half against crosstown rival
Cerezo at Expo Stadium. Oguro netted a hat trick in Gamba’s 7-1
rout.

First-division leading scorer Emerson gave Urawa a 1-0 halftime lead with his 20th goal of the season with a 17th-minute header, before Yuichiro Nagai doubled the lead five minutes into the second half at Tokyo’s National Stadium.

Emerson pounced on a rebound to add his second in the 72nd minute and Tadaaki Hirakawa completed the rout in the dying minutes, as the Reds moved five points clear of Gamba Osaka on 21 points from eight games.

At Expo Stadium, Masashi Oguro scored the first hat trick of his career as Gamba Osaka got a club record seven goals in a 7-1 demolition of crosstown rival Cerezo Osaka and reclaimed second place in the 16-team league table, ahead of Ichihara.

Gamba was 3-1 ahead after 35 minutes on a double from Fernandinho and another from Yoshito Okubo before Oguro netted in the 37th, 47th and 67th minutes to help the home side improve to 16 points.

At Niigata, Brazilian strikers Oseas, Fabinho and Edmilson all got on the scoresheet after the break to give Albirex Niigata a 3-0 victory over Oita Trinita.

Vissel Kobe, playing its first game since Czech coach Ivan Hasek stepped down, gained some breathing space in its relegation fight after defeating Tokyo Verdy 2-0 away thanks to a pair of goals from Mitsutoshi Watada in the final quarter of an hour.

Elsewhere, Nagoya Grampus Eight and FC Tokyo played to a 1-1 draw at Toyota Stadium after a 75th-minute goal from FC Tokyo forward Lucas canceled out a ninth-minute strike by Masahiro Koga.