HAKODATE, Hokkaido – Tatsunori Arai struck twice as resurgent JEF United Chiba preserved their perfect start under new manager Alex Miller with a 2-1 win away to Consadole Sapporo in the J. League Nabisco Cup on Sunday.
Two-time Nabisco champion Chiba went in front on 22 minutes when Arai met Masataka Sakamoto’s right-wing cross but Yasuhiro Hiraoka put Sapporo on level terms seven minutes before the interval with the first goal of his professional career.
Arai put Chiba back in charge two minutes after the restart with a left-footed drive and the visitors held on to preserve the top spot in Group C with eight points from four games. Kashiwa Reysol moved level with Sapporo on five points after Jiro Kamata sealed a 3-1 win over Kawasaki Frontale.
In other matches, Jungo Fujimoto was on target twice as Group B leaders Shimizu S-Pulse claimed local bragging rights with a 4-2 win over Jubilo Iwata at Nihondaira Stadium.
Veteran striker Masashi Nakayama scored a late consolation for Iwata to become the oldest Nabisco Cup goalscorer at 40 years, eight months and two days old, renewing a record previously held by Brazilian former Japan coach Zico.
Shimizu has 10 points, three more than FC Tokyo, who beat neighbors Tokyo Verdy 3-0.
Kyoto Sanga suffered its first defeat in Group A after going down 1-0 at home to Vissel Kobe, substitute Takayuki Yoshida grabbing the winner 17 minutes from time. Nagoya Grampus lead the group after overpowering winless leaders Urawa Reds 4-2.
Taikai Uemoto’s last-gasp header secured Oita Trinita a 2-1 win away to Omiya Ardija while Group D leaders Yokohama F. Marinos were held to a goalless draw at home to Albirex Niigata.
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.
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