OITA – Cameroonian striker Patrick Mboma scored twice to keep Tokyo Verdy’s second-stage title hopes alive after a 2-0 win away to struggling Oita Trinita in the J. League first division on Sunday.
Mboma opened the scoring in the 35th minute when he finished off a neat exchange of passes with Kazuki Hiramoto and took his tally for the season to 12 with the second from close range in the 52nd to lift Verdy within two points of the leader, Yokohama Marinos.
Verdy, which is aiming to win its first league honors in eight years, has 16 points from nine games and moved into third place behind Yokohama, which won 1-0 at home to JEF United Ichihara on Saturday, and Urawa Reds.
Two goals in two minutes from Emerson and substitute Makoto Hasebe put Hans Ooft’s men on their way before in-form Tatsuya Tanaka completed the scoring nine minutes from time.
Oita, which has yet to win in the second stage, remained in 14th place in the 16 team standings.
In Sunday’s other match, Shimizu S-Pulse needed a late winner from Brazilian striker Tuto to overcome Kyoto Purple Sanga 1-0 at home.
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