• Kyodo


Holder FC Tokyo put its miserable league form behind it by beating Oita Trinita 2-0 away to record its first win in the group stage of the Nabisco Cup on Saturday.

News photoMarques (left) of Grampus Eight scores on a header in the fifth minute of Saturday’s Group D Nabisco Cup clash against the Kashima Antlers at Mizuho Stadium. Nagoya won 1-0.

Yusuke Kondo headed the visitor in front from a Mitsuhiro Toda cross two minutes into the second half and midfielder Ryoichi Kurisawa sealed the Group C win by lashing home nine minutes later to keep his side’s hopes of advancing to the quarterfinals alive.

Tokyo, which beat Urawa Reds in a penalty shootout to claim its first piece of silverware in last year’s final, has four points from four matches, five behind leaders JEF United Chiba, which hammered local rival Kashiwa Reysol 5-1 away.

In Group A, Emerson headed home a last-gasp winner to all but assure Urawa a place in the quarterfinals after a 1-0 win at home to struggling Vissel Kobe maintained its 100 percent record with a maximum 12 points. Albirex Niigata against Omiya Ardija finished 1-1.

Elsewhere, Gamba Osaka stayed on course for a place in the last eight after edging visiting Kawasaki Frontale 3-2 in Group B, Masafumi Maeda, scorer of the J. League’s 10,000th goal, netting the winner in the dying seconds. Tokyo Verdy drew 2-2 with Sanfrecce Hiroshima at National Stadium in a late game.

In Group D, leader Shimizu S-Pulse twice came from behind to see off Cerezo Osaka 3-2 while Nagoya Grampus Eight won for the first time by edging league leaders Kashima Antlers thanks to Marques’ fifth-minute header.

The group stage features 16 first-division teams playing home and away matches in four groups with the top team from each group and the two best runnersup advancing to the quarterfinals.

Euro stars recalled

Japan coach Zico on Friday named Italian-based trio Hidetoshi Nakata, Shunsuke Nakamura and Atsushi Yanagisawa to his final squad for the national team’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers away to Bahrain and North Korea.

Marseille midfielder Koji Nakata has also been added to the final 25-man squad after all four were unavailable for the Kirin Cup campaign that Japan ended without a point after back-to-back 1-0 defeats to Peru and the United Arab Emirates.

Japan takes on Bahrain in Manama on June 3 and will play their controversial penultimate Group B match against North Korea behind closed doors in Bangkok on June 8.

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