• Kyodo


Tomislav Maric scored a second-half hat trick as Urawa Reds resurrected their fading title hopes with a 7-0 whipping of nine-man Kashiwa Reysol in the J. League first division on Saturday.

Robson Ponte, Tomoyuki Sakai, Tatsuya Tanaka and Takuya Yokoyama were also on the score sheet at Komaba Stadium, but the sheen was taken off Urawa’s win after Tanaka was stretchered off with a broken right leg after a horror tackle by Yukio Tsuchiya midway through the second half.

“Tatsuya’s injury was the only minus point in today’s match,” Urawa manager Guido Buchwald told reporters after the game.

“We were missing five regulars today due to injuries and suspensions, but the players that came in really played well and took their chances,” added Buchwald, who was without the likes of Alessandro Santos, Nobuhisa Yamada and Marcus Tulio Tanaka.

Urawa, which had won just one of its previous five matches, was given an early boost when former Japan international Tomokazu Myojin was sent off for Kashiwa after just 14 minutes and Ponte finished off a neat move to open the scoring in the 24th.

Last season’s second-stage winners were in total control from that point onward. Tanaka made it 2-0 when he turned home a pass from Keita Suzuki in the 50th minute and Croatian striker Maric headed home his first of the afternoon five minutes later as Kashiwa collapsed.

Yasuhiro Hato was next to receive his marching orders after a second yellow for a foul on Ponte and Maric took advantage of poor marking to head home the fourth before completing his hat trick with an unstoppable shot in the 64th minute.

Sakai made a mockery of Kashiwa’s defense and prodded home the sixth in the 68th minute before Yokoyama tapped home from close range to complete the rout in injury time.

Urawa is 10 points adrift of leader Gamba Osaka, which won 4-1 at Vissel Kobe, league-leading striker Araujo scoring twice for the visitor to give it a six-point cushion at the top, ahead of Kashima Antlers.

In other matches, this season’s surprise package Cerezo Osaka, which narrowly escaped relegation last season, kept the pressure on the top two with a 1-0 win over visiting Omiya Ardija.

Brazilian midfielder Fabinho scored on the rebound after his penalty had been saved in the 61st minute, giving Cerezo its sixth win in a row and keeping Shinji Kobayashi’s side in third place on 46 points.

Second-from-bottom Verdy had to settle for a 1-1 draw away to Albirex Niigata, FC Tokyo drew 2-2 with Sanfrecce Hiroshima, Oita Trinita crushed Shimizu S-Pulse 5-0 and Kawasaki Frontale won 4-1 at Nagoya Grampus Eight.

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