• Kyodo


Brazilian striker Araujo returned to Shizuoka to haunt his former employers by grabbing his 28th goal of the season as Gamba Osaka thrashed Shimizu S-Pulse 4-1 to go three points clear at the top of the J. League on Sunday.

Shimizu striker Cho Jae Jin gifted Gamba the lead with an own goal and a clinical strike from the impressive Fernandinho in the 42nd minute put the visitor firmly in control at Nihondaira Stadium.

Masashi Oguro punished poor defending to kill the game off with the third in the 50th and Araujo poked home before S-Pulse replied with a late consolation from Keisuke Ota.

With eight games left, Gamba has 51 points with Kashima Antlers, who were held to a 2-2 draw at home to JEF United Chiba on Saturday, in second on 48.

“The (Kashima) result was big for us but we have to just try to make sure we keep picking up the wins,” said Oguro.

Gamba’s local rival Cerezo Osaka climbed into third place on 43 after a 3-1 win at home to Urawa Reds in Sunday’s other match.

Gamba took the lead in the 32nd minute when Cho rose above Oguro to head Fernandinho’s corner into his own net.

Fernandinho put Gamba into cruise control with the second as he turned Toshihide Saito and Kazumichi Takagi inside out before rounding Yohei Nishibe to slot home.

Oguro rolled in a simple third goal before Araujo added the fourth when he stabbed home a cheeky back-heel from Tsuneyasu Miyamoto with his left foot. Ota pulled one back for the home side a minute from time.

Vissel ref complaint

Vissel Kobe is to request that its J. League match against Kashiwa Reysol be replayed after a refereeing blunder in its 1-0 defeat on Saturday.

Referee Yoshitsugu Katayama handed Ryo Kobayashi his second yellow card and sent him off for time-wasting after the player took too long leaving the pitch to make way for substitute Harutaka Ono in the 87th minute at Kashiwa Stadium.

But Katayama allowed Ono to come on for Kobayashi and play the remainder of the match even though he had just given Kobayashi the red card.

“We cannot accept this and will file a complaint. We want the match replayed or the remainder of the match including the injury time,” said Kobe general manager Sadayuki Adachi, whose team is bottom of the first division.

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