SAITAMA – Yuichiro Nagai and Koji Yamase both scored hat tricks as Urawa Reds demolished Tokyo Verdy 7-2 in the J. League first division Saturday.
Brazilian striker Emerson opened the floodgates in the 12th minute with his 15th goal of the season before turning provider for Nagai, who made it 2-0 in the 15th minute and then headed home his second seven minutes later at Saitama Stadium 2002.
Japan international Atsuhiro Miura scored with a free-kick from distance and Kazuki Hiramoto also found the target to pull Verdy back into the game only for Urawa to regain control in the second half.
Nagai completed his treble and Yamase, who was left out the Japan Under-23 squad that crashed out in the first round of the Athens Olympics last Sunday, netted three times in 14 minutes to seal the points.
Urawa, which finished third in the first stage, has maximum points from two games in the second stage along with defending champion Yokohama F. Marinos and Gamba Osaka.
Yokohama, which is chasing an unprecedented fourth straight stage title, overcame Oita Trinita 2-1 thanks to a last-minute goal from Japan defender Naoki Matsuda. National teammate Yasuhito Endo was on the scoresheet as Gamba beat Kashima Antlers by the same scoreline.
Elsewhere, former Cameroon international striker Patrick Mboma opened his account for new club Vissel Kobe in its 3-0 win away to lowly Kashiwa Reysol and Marquinhos scored twice as JEF United Ichihara drew 3-3 away to Albirex Niigata.
At Yamaha Stadium, Brazilian midfielder Claiton scored his first goal for Nagoya Grampus Eight in a 2-1 win at first-stage runnerup Jubilo Iwata, while Shimizu S-Pulse beat FC Tokyo 2-1 away and Sanfrecce Hiroshima came from behind to edge Cerezo Osaka 2-1.
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