KAWASAKI – Brazilian striker Juninho finally opened his season account by grabbing a hat trick as Kawasaki Frontale swept aside 10-man Kashiwa Reysol in the Nabisco Cup on Wednesday night.
Last season’s J. League top scorer opened the scoring after 21 minutes at Todoroki Stadium and headed the second in the 31st before completing the scoring just before the hour mark to give Frontale their first points in Group C.
JEF United Chiba, the 2005 and 2006 Nabisco Cup winners, remained top of the group on five points from three games after a 0-0 draw at home to Consadole Sapporo.
Chiba dominated the opening period at Fukuda Denshi Arena but a Seiichiro Maki drive that shaved the post on 17 minutes was all the home side had to show for their efforts against defensive Sapporo.
Davi hit the sidenetting with Sapporo’s only clear opportunity but Yuya Sato pulled off a wonder save from Tatsuya Yazawa in the dying seconds to ensure the visitors a share of the spoils.
“Obviously I’m not satisfied because we didn’t win,” said Chiba manager Josip Kuze, whose side have yet to win in six J. League matches so far this season.
“But after conceding four goals against Omiya (on Saturday) I wanted more organization at the back and keeping a clean sheet is a plus point.”
In Group A, Urawa Reds were held 1-1 by Kyoto Sanga while Nagoya Grampus moved top with a 2-0 win over Vissel Kobe thanks to goals from Keita Sugimoto and Toshiya Fujita.
Fernandinho grabbed a first-half double as Shimizu S-Pulse moved three points clear at the top of Group B after thrashing Tokyo Verdy 5-0, while FC Tokyo against Jubilo Iwata finished 1-1.
An own goal put Group D leaders Yokohama F Marinos on the way to a 4-0 win at home to Omiya Ardija. Albirex Niigata and Oita Trinita played out a 1-1 draw.
The top team from each group and the two best second-place finishers join holders Gamba Osaka and J. League champions Kashima Antlers in the quarterfinals.
Gamba and Kashima have been given a bye into the last eight because of their involvement in the Asian Champions League.