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Urawa plays down Maeda goal jinx

AFP-JIJI

Urawa Reds have vowed to break a J. League jinx after allowing prolific Jubilo Iwata striker Ryoichi Maeda to score his dreaded “goal of death”.

For six straight years, whichever team Maeda has scored his first league goal against has gone on to be relegated, including 2008 Asian champions Gamba Osaka, who fell from the top flight for the first time last year.

Maeda scored his “goal of death” this season after 26 minutes in an away fixture against Urawa on Saturday, drawing screams from home supporters.

But Urawa fought back to beat Iwata 2-1 and remain second behind Yokohama F. Marinos after five rounds of the season. Jubilo are next to last.

“We are in a dangerous position,” Urawa coach Mihailo Petrovic joked, in reference to the superstition. “But we will definitely stay in the first division at the end of the season.”