• Kyodo

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Veteran striker Masashi Nakayama rifled home a sudden-death winner as Jubilo Iwata defeated struggling Consadole Sapporo 1-0 away on Sunday to return to the top of the J. League second-stage standings.

Aiming to become the first team to win both stages, Jubilo overcame a sluggish start to dictate the tempo of the match at Sapporo Dome but, despite enjoying the lion’s share of possession, had to wait until the 97th minute to secure two points.

Iwata dominated proceedings in every department after the interval but was unable to exploit yawning gaps in the Sapporo defense in normal time.

Iwata’s relentless pressure finally paid off when the Sapporo defense failed to deal with Naohiro Takahara’s shot, allowing Nakayama to blast the loose ball high into the net and condemn the home side to its fifth defeat of the second stage.

In Kagoshima Prefecture, Kyoto Purple Sanga cruised to a 2-0 win over Sanfrecce Hiroshima to move level on points with fourth-placed Gamba Osaka.

South Korean World Cup star Park Ji Sung set up Kurobe for his first on the stroke of halftime following good work down the left flank and was the architect again as Kurobe took his tally for the season to 11 with a carbon-copy second 16 minutes from time.

Japan cruises

PUSAN, South Korea (Kyodo) Substitute Tatsuya Tanaka spared new coach Masakuni Yamamoto’s an embarrassing loss with a strike midway through the second half Saturday to send Japan on its way to a 2-0 victory over Palestine at the Asian Games.

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