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Former Japan striker Kazuyoshi Miura rolled back the years with a trademark finish to help ease 10-man Vissel Kobe’s relegation worries with a 2-1 victory over Kashima Antlers in the J. League on Saturday.

News photoKazu Miura of Vissel Kobe
controls the ball during the
first half on Saturday against
Kashima Antlers at Kobe
Wing Stadium. Vissel won
the match 2-1.

Kobe spent long periods of the first half soaking up pressure from the Antlers at Kobe Universiade Stadium, but went in front when 36-year-old legend Miura, filling in for suspended Brazilian Oseas, fired the home side in front just before the break.

Miura brought down a right-wing cross from former Antlers star Bismarck and swiveled to rifle a low shot past Japan goalkeeper Hitoshi Sogahata.

Bismarck also had a hand in the second goal, feeding Ryuji Bando, who doubled the advantage on the hour when he squeezed between two defenders to bury the ball in the bottom right-hand corner of Sogahata’s net.

Bando’s celebrations were soured, however, as he received his marching orders seven minutes from time for a second bookable offense. Substitute Naoki Soma scored a late consolation goal for Kashima in the dying stages.

The win moved Kobe six points clear of the danger zone to 13th in the overall standings with four games of the season remaining, while also denting Kashima’s title aspirations.

Kashima is three points behind leader Tokyo Verdy, which played to a 0-0 draw with visiting Vegalta Sendai on Saturday night.

In another evening match, JEF United drew 1-1 with Jubilo Iwata in Ichihara.

Oita also took a step toward ensuring first-division soccer next season with a 1-0 home win over fellow struggler Kyoto Purple Sanga, with Takayuki Yoshida scoring the decisive goal in the 12th minute.

In other games, Kota Yoshihara scored twice as Gamba Osaka brushed aside Nagoya Grampus Eight 3-1, while FC Tokyo ran out a 3-1 winner at Shimizu S-Pulse.

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