• Kyodo

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Kashima Antlers midfielder Takuya Nozawa will be out of action for two months after sustaining a knee injury in a pre-season friendly, officials of the J. League first division side said Monday.

Nozawa, who was called up for Japan’s first training camp of the year earlier this month, damaged ligaments in his left knee in Sunday’s game against Mito Hollyhock and is scheduled to undergo surgery on Tuesday.

Nozawa’s injury comes as a blow to Kashima just days before they kick off their league campaign away to Kawasaki Frontale. The 25-year-old is a key player for the four-time league champions and scored nine goals in 29 league appearances last season.

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