KASHIMA, Ibaraki Pref. – Aleksandar Zivkovic struck a late winner to give Jubilo Iwata a precious 1-0 victory away at holders Kashima Antlers in the first leg of the Nabisco Cup semifinals Wednesday evening.
Only a series of fine reaction saves from Kashima goalkeeper Hitoshi Sogahata had prevented Iwata taking an earlier lead but the Japan international stopper could do little about the winner that came two minutes from time at Kashima Stadium.
Substitute Nobuo Kawaguchi found Rodrigo Gral in space on the right and Soghata could only palm the Brazilian’s effort into the path of Zivkovic who made no mistake with a powerful drive at the far post.
“It was nice to get the goal but obviously more important for the team to get the result,” Zivkovic said after the game.
“Now we have to make sure we complete the job in the return leg back in Iwata,” said the 26-year-old from Serbia and Montenegro.
In the evening’s other semifinal, in-form South Korea striker Ahn Jung Hwan scored the only goal of the game in the 24th minute as 10-man Shimizu S-Pulse overcame last year’s beaten finalists Urawa Reds 1-0.
Both second leg matches take place Oct. 8.
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