NAGOYA – Naoshi Nakamura helped himself to a double as Nagoya Grampus Eight ended Jubilo Iwata’s four-match unbeaten streak Sunday with a 2-0 home win in the J. League first division.
Nagoya Grampus Eight at Mizuho Stadium.
Nakamura struck once in each half at Mizuho Stadium to dent Iwata’s hopes of making ground on leaders Kashima Antlers while substitute Fabinho was also on target twice as Albirex Niigata came from behind to down Oita Trinita 3-1 away in the day’s other match.
Fifth-placed Iwata has 28 points from 18 games, 11 behind Kashima with Nagoya another point off the pace in seventh.
Jubilo had the better of the opening period but its defense was breached for the first time in four games when Nakamura scored the opener with Nagoya’s only effort on target.
Former Iwata hero Toshiya Fujita sent a long ball to Nakamura, who turned Japan international defender Takayuki Chano inside out and stabbed the ball inside Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi’s near post in the 17th minute.
Iwata went close to leveling moments later. Shinji Murai found Ryoichi Maeda with a cross from the left but Seigo Narazaki produced a fine reaction save to block the in-form striker’s point-blank header with his legs.
Nine minutes after the break, Nagoya doubled its lead. Iwata defender Makoto Tanaka was unable to reach Keisuke Honda’s raking cross-field pass and the ball fell perfectly for Nakamura to run clean through and slide past Kawaguchi and complete his brace.
“I was a bit nervous about facing my old teammates because I have so many memories at Iwata but I was not really thinking too much about it and tried to stay focused on the game,” Fujita said.
At Oita Big Eye, Daiki Takamatsu put the home side into a 12th-minute lead but Fabinho scored two stunning goals in 11 second-half minutes and Yusaku Ueno sealed the win with the third six minutes from time.
Niigata’s second straight lifted it into 11th place while Oita has now taken just two points from seven matches and is third from bottom in the table.
Lecce eyes Ogasawara
KASHIMA (Kyodo) J. League leaders Kashima Antlers said Sunday they have received an offer from Italian first-division club Lecce for midfielder Mitsuo Ogasawara but appear unlikely to allow the Japan international to leave until the end of the season.
Ogasawara, 26, is keen to ply his trade overseas but Kashima official Mitsuru Suzuki said, “We don’t intend to let him leave straight away but would have time to consider a move after the season is over.”
Ogasawara, who was last month reportedly being targeted by Serie A side Lazio, played a key role in helping Japan qualify for next year’s World Cup finals in Germany.
Kubo pulls out
Yokohama F. Marinos striker Tatsuhiko Kubo has pulled out of the Japan squad for the upcoming East Asian championship, the J. League first division club said Sunday.
Yokohama said Kubo, who has been called up to the national squad for the championship after a six-month absence, needs treatment on lower back and knee injuries that have plagued him all season.