• Kyodo

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Albirex Niigata said Monday manager Yasuharu Sorimachi will leave the J. League first-division club at the end of the season.

Sorimachi, 41, became Albirex’s manager in 2001 and helped them earn promotion to the first division after winning the second-division title in 2003.

His side finished 10th in 2004 in its first season in the top flight and is currently 12th with one game left this year.

“My goal was to help this club play football in the first division and stay there as long as possible.

It was a tough battle all season this year, and I felt I had achieved my mission when we were assured of a place in the top flight again next year,” he said.

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