KAWASAKI – Kazuki Ganaha capped a triumphant week with a clinical strike as Kawasaki Frontale beat Consadole Sapporo 2-0, and Nagoya Grampus beat Kyoto Sanga 2-1 to reach the quarterfinals of the Nabisco Cup on Saturday.
Sapporo was repeatedly thwarted by Frontale ‘keeper Yuki Uekusa in the early stages at Todoroki Stadium but Ganaha, who on Tuesday won an appeal against a ban imposed on him for breaking the J. League’s anti-doping rules, smashed the home side in front against the run of play on 19 minutes.
Uekusa denied Claiton with another smart stop and Juninho sealed the victory for Kawasaki from the penalty spot five minutes from time.
“It was a great time to get a goal and I am glad,” said Ganaha, choking back tears in a post-match interview.
“I have had a very tough experience and I want to thank the fans for sticking by me,” said the 27-year-old Okinawa-born striker, who was handed a six-match ban by the J. League last year for taking an intravenous vitamin infusion.
Frontale travel to Fukuda Denshi Arena for their final match on June 8 against two-time Nabisco champions JEF United Chiba. Chiba are three points clear after a 1-1 draw at local rivals Kashiwa Reysol.
Elsewhere, two goals in the last four minutes from Yuki Maki and Tomohiro Tsuda saw Nagoya Grampus improve to 12 points and become the first team from the group stage to advance to the last eight.
Naohiro Takahara made the perfect response to being axed from the Japan national team for its upcoming World Cup qualifiers with an early goal for the Urawa Reds, but the reigning Asian club champions were eliminated after a 2-1 defeat away to Vissel Kobe.
At Kyushu Oil Dome, Yukihiro Yamase rescued a point for Group D leaders Yokohama F. Marinos with a late equalizer in a 2-2 draw at Oita Trinita, while Albirex Niigata and Omiya Ardija drew 1-1.
In Group B, Shimizu S-Pulse stayed three points clear of FC Tokyo after an 89th-minute free kick from Jungo Fujimoto snatched a 1-1 draw against the Gasmen while Robert Cullen was on target for the second game in a row as Jubilo Iwata blanked Tokyo Verdy.
Japan routs Taiwan
HO CHI MINH CITY, (AP) Japan revived its hopes of qualifying for the semifinals of the Women’s Asian Cup with an 11-0 annihilation of Taiwan in their Group B match Saturday.
Having lost to South Korea in its opening match, Japan boosted its goal difference and confidence enormously ahead of its final group match against Australia, which will likely decide which teams progress to the last four.
While the match was against a modest opponent, Japan far outperformed Australia’s effort against Taiwan, which the Matildas won only 4-0 in torrential rain.
Japan led just 2-0 at halftime. Rumi Utsugi, Karina Maruyama and Michi Goto all finished with two goals apiece.