J. League leader Jubilo Iwata picked up the first three points of its Nabisco Cup campaign with a 3-2 win away to Gamba Osaka in their Group B clash on Saturday.

News photoPatrick Mboma of Verdy 1969 scores in the 69th minute of Saturday’s Nabisco
Cup match against the Yokohama F. Marinos at Mitsuzawa Stadium. Verdy won 2-1.

Yasumasa Nishino headed home twice in the first nine minutes at Expo Stadium to put Iwata in control before Brazilian striker Rodrigo Gral further extended the visitors’ lead with the third from the penalty spot on the half-hour mark.

Gamba, which beat Iwata 1-0 in the corresponding fixture at Yamaha Stadium last week, reduced the deficit to one goal when Masashi Oguro scored his second of the match from the spot in the 54th minute, but Iwata managed to hold on for victory.

Despite the win, Iwata remained last in the group with four points from four matches and trails Gamba on goal difference.

Nagoya Grampus Eight leads the table on nine points after a 1-0 win way to Albirex Niigata, Ueslei netting the winner 10 minutes before halftime.

In Group A, Tokyo Verdy moved three points clear after a 2-1 win at defending J. League champion Yokohama F. Marinos, two goals in six second-half minutes from Yoshiyuki Kobayashi and Patrick Mboma securing the victory.

Yokohama remained in second with Sanfreece Hiroshima moving to third after a 2-0 home win over Cerezo Osaka.

Elsewhere, JEF United Ichihara won for the first time since the April 29 when it beat Oita Trinita 2-0 at home, goals from Brazilian Sandro and Kohei Kudo keeping Ivica Osim’s men top of Group C.

Japan Olympic team stars Tatsuya Tanaka and Marcus Tulio Tanaka were on target as holders Urawa Reds brushed aside Shimizu S-Pulse 3-0 in the other Group C match.

Struggling Kashiwa Reysol stunned Kashima Antlers 2-0 away for their first win in 13 league and cup matches in Group D while FC Tokyo went top after a 2-1 victory at home to Vissel Kobe.

Koji Nakata gets nod

Kashima Antlers midfielder Koji Nakata has been called up to the Japan squad for next week’s World Cup qualifier against India in Saitama in place of injured Junichi Inamoto.

Nakata, who has only recently returned from a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a knee injury, has been drafted in after Fulham midfielder Inamoto suffered a broken ankle in the national team’s 1-1 draw away to England in midweek.

Inamoto sustained the injury in the dying stages of Tuesday’s game in Manchester and is likely to be out of action for around three months, meaning he will miss Japan’s defense of the Asian Cup, which kicks off in China in July.

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