• Kyodo

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Urawa Reds booked its place in the quarterfinals of the J. League Nabisco Cup after a comfortable 3-1 victory over crosstown rivals Omiya Ardija in their first-round Group A clash Saturday.

Shimizu S-Pulse also reached the knockout phase after coming back from two goals down to salvage a 3-3 draw away to Kashima Antlers in Group D. Gamba Osaka also qualified from Group B despite a 2-1 loss to Sanfrecce Hiroshima.

At Saitama Stadium 2002, Keita Suzuki opened the scoring after 11 minutes before a spot kick from Emerson and a Tatsuya Tanaka strike gave Urawa a 3-0 halftime lead.

Tuto pulled one back for Omiya with a second-half goal but it was too little, too late to end Urawa’s 100 percent record.

The result guaranteed Urawa top spot in its group on 15 points from five matches, eight points clear of second-placed Omiya.

In Group D, a first-half double from defender Daiki Iwamasa helped put Kashima ahead 3-1 at the break before Shimizu came back through Yoshikiyo Kuboyama and Cho Jae Jin to clinch a spot in the last eight.

Undefeated Shimizu took an insurmountable lead in its group on 11 points, followed by Cerezo Osaka on seven and Kashima on five.

Gamba Osaka became the winner of Group B following a 1-1 draw between Kawasaki Frontale and Tokyo Verdy in the day’s only evening match. Gamba has 10 points, four ahead of Kawasaki and Verdy.

Elsewhere, Group C leader JEF United Chiba and Oita Trinita played out a 1-1 draw while FC Tokyo and Kashiwa Reysol finished goalless in the other match in the group.

Albirex Niigata beat Vissel Kobe 1-0 in Group A and Cerezo Osaka played to a 1-1 draw with Nagoya Grampus Eight in Group D.

Yokohama F. Marinos and Jubilo Iwata have been given a bye into the quarterfinals to be played in August due to their recent involvement in the Asian Champions League.

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