KOBE – Newly crowned J. League champion Gamba Osaka scored three goals in the final four minutes Saturday to eliminate Kashiwa Reysol with a 5-3 win in the fifth round of the Emperor’s Cup.
Trailing 3-2, J. League top scorer Araujo snatched an equalizer in the 86th minute before substitute Masanobu Matsunami and Araujo found the target to hold off Kashiwa at Kobe Wing Stadium as Gamba advanced to the Dec. 24 quarterfinals.
Gamba opened the scoring through Shinichi Terada six minutes into the second half, only to see Kashiwa turn the tables 12 minutes later after a quick double from Tatsuya Suzuki.
Japan striker Masashi Oguro then drew Gamba level in the 75th minute but Kashiwa made it 3-2 with a strike from Hidekazu Otani 10 minutes from time. Yet the Kashiwa defense failed to hold out in the face of heavy pressure from Gamba.
Gamba plays crosstown rival Cerezo Osaka at Nagai Stadium in the quarterfinals, which also pit Kashima Antlers against Omiya Ardija in Sendai. Urawa Reds meet Kawasaki Frontale in Saitama and Jubilo Iwata faces fellow Shizuoka side Shimizu S-Pulse in Marugame.
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