• Kyodo

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A superb first-half strike from Japan defender Atsuhiro Miura put Tokyo Verdy on the way to a comfortable 2-0 away win at Kashiwa Reysol as Osvaldo Ardiles’ resurgent side went top of the J. League on Sunday.

Miura, who impressed in the national team’s recent 1-0 win in Tunisia, gave the visitors the lead in the 35th minute, picking up a pass from Mboma just outside the box before firing beyond Yuta Minami into the top right hand corner of the net.

Kashiwa created a number of chances after the break but slack marking at the back allowed Verdy to double the lead in the 74th minute with Miura this time the architect.

The 29-year-old launched a long throw into the box and Takuya Yamada flicked the ball on for Mboma to sneak in and head home his 13th goal of the season.

In Sunday’s other match, Cerezo Osaka was unable to give Yuji Tsukada three points in his first game in charge after going down 2-0 at home to local rival Gamba Osaka.

Japan hammers Taiwan

SENDAI (Kyodo) Japan’s Under-18 side kicked off its qualifying campaign for next year’s Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-20 Championship with a 7-0 drubbing of Taiwan in Sendai on Sunday.

Taiwan faces Macao on Tuesday before Japan plays Macao in the final Group 13 game on Thursday.

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