SAITAMA – Tatsuya Tanaka and Emerson scored first-half goals Saturday as Urawa Reds beat crosstown rival Omiya Ardija 2-1 to go top of Group A in the J. League Nabisco Cup first round.
Athens Olympic team striker Tanaka pounced on a rebound following Emerson’s shot to open the scoring in the 16th minute at Komaba Stadium and Emerson doubled the lead for the home side eight minutes later.
Omiya pulled one back through Daisuke Tomita in the 65th minute but it was not enough to keep the first-division newcomer on top of the group table.
Urawa has four points from two matches to Omiya’s three.
Albirex Niigata also moved to three points in Group A after a 1-0 victory at home to Vissel Kobe thanks to a 40th-minute strike from Yoshito Terakawa. Kobe dropped to its second straight defeat.
In Group B, Gamba Osaka clung onto first place on four points as late substitute Masanobu Matsunami slotted home an injury-time equalizer in a 2-2 draw at Kawasaki Frontale.
Gamba leads the group on goal difference over Tokyo Verdy, which won 1-0 at Sanfrecce Hiroshima on a first-half header from Brazilian striker Washington. Kawasaki is third on two points while Hiroshima is left without a point.
In Group C, Cleber and Tadatoshi Masuda found the net in the second half as Kashiwa Reysol came from behind to beat JEF United Chiba in a clash between Chiba Prefecture neighbors.
Kashiwa won its second straight match and stand three points clear of second-placed Chiba. FC Tokyo and Oita Trinita played to a scoreless draw for their first point in the other match of the group.
In Group D, Keisuke Ota and Hideaki Kitajima were on target in each half to lead Shimizu S-Pulse to a 2-0 victory at Cerezo Osaka and top spot in the standings on four points.
Kashima Antlers are second on goal difference after goals from Fernando and Alex Mineiro completed a 2-1 come-from-behind home victory over Nagoya Grampus Eight, which has yet to win a point. Cerezo is third in the group a point behind Shimizu and Kashima.
Yokohama F. Marinos and Jubilo Iwata have been given a bye into the quarterfinals to be played in August due to their involvement in the Asian Champions League.
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