IWATA, Shizuoka Pref. – Brazilian striker Rodrigo Gral grabbed a goal in each half as J. League leader Jubilo Iwata beat 10-man Vissel Kobe 3-1 on Wednesday to book a place in the quarterfinals of the Nabisco Cup.
Gral opened the scoring from the penalty spot on 29 minutes after Kobe defender Yukio Tsuchiya was sent off for violent conduct in the Group A match at Yamaha Stadium and added a second from a Toshiya Fujita corner midway through the second period.
Compatriot Harison gave Kobe hope with a 79th-minute free-kick only for substitute Sho Naruoka to seal the win three minutes later and send Iwata into the last eight of the competition along with Gamba Osaka and Yokohama F. Marinos.
Iwata tops the group on 10 points, three points ahead of Kobe with one group-stage match remaining.
In the other Group A match, Yoshiyuki Kobayashi spared Osvaldo Ardiles defeat in his first competitive match in charge of Tokyo Verdy, also reduced to 10 men, grabbing a last minute equalizer in the 1-1 draw at home to Urawa Reds. Both teams have five points each.
Elsewhere, Yokohama moved top of Group B on 10 points after a 3-0 win at Vegalta Sendai while FC Tokyo is second after a 0-0 draw at Kashiwa Reysol, a result which eliminated the Chiba club.
Gamba Osaka secured the only berth from Group C with a comfortable 4-2 win over JEF United Ichihara.
Nagoya Grampus Eight drew 1-1 at home to Oita Trinita and is level on five points with leader Kyoto Purple Sanga, its opponents in the Group D decider on July 16.
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