JEF United Chiba took a one-goal advantage into the second leg of the J. League Nabisco Cup quarterfinals after a 3-2 victory over Jubilo Iwata on Saturday while Gamba Osaka, Urawa Reds, Yokohama F. Marinos all scored vital away wins.
At National Stadium, Naotake Hanyu opened the scoring after seven minutes and Koji Nakajima headed home to double the lead on the half-hour mark before Iwata pulled one back through Ryoichi Maeda on the stroke of half time.
Substitute forward Yuichi Yoda snapped up the rebound following a Hanyu shot to increase Chiba’s lead five minutes from time. But Naoya Kikuchi replied with an 89th-minute strike, which could prove a vital away goal for Iwata ahead of its home leg next Saturday.
Iwata had a bye into the quarterfinals along with Yokohama F. Marinos due to their involvement in the Asian Champions League.
Defending J. League champions Marinos needed an 86th-minute header from defender Yuzo Kurihara to beat Omiya Ardija at Kumagaya Stadium following a series of missed goalscoring chances.
Kurihara met a corner from Masahiro Ohashi as Takeshi Okada’s men scraped by Omiya, which had clinched a spot in the last eight as one of the two best runnerups in the group phase.
At Nagai Stadium, Gamba Osaka, winner of first-round Group B, took a 3-0 advantage over crosstown rival Cerezo Osaka.
Sidiclei headed the visitor ahead after 19 minutes before Hideo Hashimoto and Akihiro Ienaga added second-half goals to give Gamba a comfortable cushion heading into the return leg.
Group A winners Urawa Reds ran out 1-0 winners over Group D winners Shimizu S-Pulse at Nihondaira Stadium thanks to a 37th-minute goal from Makoto Hasebe, who outwitted a defender to rifle home a sizzling shot from just outside the penalty area.
Iwata and Chiba will play their second leg next Saturday along with the Gamba-Cerezo match. Urawa will host Shimizu while Marinos welcome Omiya on Sunday.
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