NAGOYA – Keiji Tamada came off the bench to fire an exquisite equalizer and earn Nagoya Grampus a share of the spoils in a 1-1 draw with Australia’s Newcastle Jets in the Asian Champions League on Tuesday.
Tarek Elrich prodded Newcastle into a deserved lead early in the first half at Mizuho Stadium but Tamada’s free kick midway through the second period ensured the J. League side preserved their unbeaten record in Group E.
“I rested (Shohei) Abe, (Takahiro) Masukawa and (Keiji) Yoshimura so we didn’t play with our full members so 1-1 is a good result and a good experience for my players,” said Nagoya manager Dragan Stojkovic.
Nagoya failed to pose a serious threat to the physical Australians in the first half and it was the visitors that went close again in the 30th minute as Adam Griffiths muscled his way past two defenders to fizz a shot just wide.
Stojkovic decided to bring Tamada on for the ineffective Sho Hanai after halftime and the switch paid dividends in the 65th minute when the Japan striker lofted a superb free kick over the wall to leave Newcastle keeper Ben Kennedy rooted to the spot.
“In the first half we didn’t have enough concentration. They scored very quickly but let’s say that the second half was very, very good,” said Stojkovic.
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