• Kyodo


Kotaro Yamazaki struck twice in the first half to help Ventforet Kofu go second in its first-round group after a 2-1 win at Jubilo Iwata in the J. League Nabisco Cup on Thursday.

News photoJubilo Iwata defender Hideto Suzuki (left) and Ventforet Kofu midfielder Yohei Onishi battle for the ball during their Nabisco Cup clash in Iwata.

Yamazaki put Kofu ahead after three minutes following good work from midfielder Katsuya Ishihara and doubled the lead on the half-hour mark when he pounced on a loose ball and beat Iwata goalkeeper Kenya Matsui.

Takayuki Chano pulled one back for Iwata with a 38th-minute header, but the Kofu defense held out despite increased pressure in the second half.

Kofu leapfrogged Iwata into second place in Group D with eight points from six games. Cerezo Osaka leads the group with nine points from five games, while Iwata is third on seven from five.

In Thursday’s other match, Group C leader JEF United Chiba played to a scoreless draw at Albirex Niigata. JEF has 10 points, two clear of Shimizu S-Pulse and four ahead of Niigata.

No teams have yet to secure a place in the quarterfinals in both groups ahead of the final first-round fixtures Sunday.

The top team from each of the four groups advances to the quarterfinals along with three teams with the best runnerup records and last year’s beaten finalist Gamba Osaka.

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