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Mizumoto leaves Gamba Osaka

OSAKA (Kyodo) Gamba Osaka said Thursday defender Hiroki Mizumoto, captain of Japan’s Under-23 national squad bound for the Beijing Olympics, will leave the J. League first-division club.

Mizumoto, 22, is longing for more playing opportunities ahead of the tournament in Beijing in August after starting in just two league matches in his first season with Gamba since moving from fellow J. League side JEF United Chiba.

Mizumoto, who has also played for Japan three times at full international level, lost his place in the Gamba starting lineup after making serious blunders in two successive league games early this season.