Kyodo News Brazilian striker Sandro bagged a goal in each half as JEF United Ichihara came from behind to win 3-1 at Nagoya Grampus Eight and preserve its perfect record in the J. League second stage on Saturday.
With the victory, Ichihara, which finished third in the first stage, stayed top of the table and is the only team in the division with maximum nine points from three games after local rival Kashiwa Reysol was held 1-1 at home to Gamba Osaka.
Sandro canceled out Yusuke Nakatani’s 30th-minute opener for Nagoya with a header on the stroke of halftime and set up Naotake Hanyu for the second three minutes into the second half.
The 23-year-old former Suwon Bluewings man then capped a superb display with the third in the 78th minute to move Ichihara two points clear of Kashiwa, Kashima Antlers and Urawa Reds.
Nabisco Cup semifinalist Kashima, looking to improve on its disappointing eighth-place finish in the first stage, and Urawa both maintained their unbeaten starts with home wins over Oita Trinita and Vissel Kobe but defending champion Jubilo Iwata went down 1-0 at Kyoto Purple Sanga.
A well-taken 30th-minute strike from Tomoyuki Hirase sealed all three points for Kashima while in-form Brazilian striker Emerson, two goal hero in Urawa’s midweek Nabisco Cup win over FC Tokyo, grabbed his 12th of the season in the 2-0 win at Komaba Stadium.
In other matches, FC Tokyo beat Yokohama F. Marinos 4-1, Cerezo Osaka beat Veglata Sendai 4-2 at home, and Shimizu S-Pulse defeated Tokyo Verdy 3-1 at home.
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