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Japan international Tatsuhiko Kubo grabbed his 10th goal of the season to give Yokohama F. Marinos a 1-0 win over Gamba Osaka as the first-stage winners moved into the provisional lead in the J. League on Saturday.

News photoNagai, Kashima Antlers (right) vs. Hironaga, Cerezo Osaka

The lanky striker gave watching Japan coach Zico a timely reminder of his goalscoring talents as he ghosted into the Gamba box to stab home a Dutra cross from the left in the 19th minute at International Stadium Yokohama.

With Nagoya Grampus Eight idle, the victory moved Yokohama into first place with 15 points from eight second-stage games ahead of JEF United Ichihara, which won 2-1 at home to Shimizu S-Pulse and is second only on goal difference. Urawa Reds went third after crushing Vegalta Sendai 6-1 away.

Bottom club Sendai has now gone a league record 19 matches without a win.

In Osaka, Sydney Olympic striker Tomoyuki Hirase grabbed a last-gasp equalizer to keep the fourth-placed Kashima Antlers in the title hunt after a 1-1 draw away at struggling Cerezo Osaka.

A 69th-minute header from Brazilian defender Jean gave FC Tokyo a point in the 1-1 draw at Kyoto Purple Sanga while Oita Trinita and Vissel Kobe finished 2-2.

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