FUKUOKA – Kashiwa Reysol boosted its chances of first-division survival Saturday with a 2-0 win away to second-division Avispa Fukuoka in the first leg of a playoff for a place in the J. League’s top flight next season.
Harutaka Ono put Kashiwa ahead in the 48th minute in front of over 20,000 at a rain-soaked Hakata-no-Mori Stadium when his shot deflected off a Fukuoka defender before looping into the net.
Kashiwa held steady as Fukuoka tried to claw its way back into the game and Tatsuya Yazawa gave the visitors a healthy advantage to take back to Chiba Prefecture, for the return leg on Dec. 12, with the second from a counter attack in the final minutes.
With the J. League expanding to 18 teams beginning next season, the third-place team in the second division plays the last-place team from the 16-team first division in the playoff for a place in the top flight.
Kawasaki Frontale and Omiya Ardija clinched the automatic promotion berths from Division Two.
No goals for charity
NIIGATA (Kyodo) Kazuyoshi “King Kazu” Miura and his fellow ex-internationals were unable to inspire the “Zico Japan Dream Team” to victory as they played out a 0-0 draw with Albirex Niigata in a charity match for Niigata earthquake victims on Saturday.
Both sides had scoring chances at Niigata Big Swan Stadium but were unable to treat a crowd of over 40,000 to a goal.
“It was nice to see some of these players back together,” said Japan coach Zico, who called up an 18-man squad that included the likes of Yutaka Akita and Norio Omura as well as current internationals and uncapped players.
The match was held with the aim of providing support to the residents of Niigata Prefecture, which was hit by powerful earthquakes on Oct. 23.
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