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Kashima Antlers edged Kawasaki Frontale 1-0 in the first leg of the Nabisco Cup quarterfinals on Wednesday night.

Former Japan midfielder Mitsuo Ogasawara headed the clincher six minutes from time on a night of contrasting fortunes for the J. League’s heavyweights.

Gamba Osaka’s recent woes continued with a 3-1 defeat at home to Yokohama F Marinos, former Japan international Naoki Matsuda sealing victory in the 86th minute at Expo Stadium, while Nagoya Grampus suffered their second defeat in quick succession at FC Tokyo.

In-form Naohiro Ishikawa, instrumental in Tokyo’s 3-0 league win over Nagoya at the weekend, was on target for the sixth game in a row in a 5-1 thrashing at Ajinomoto Stadium, while goals from Marcus Tulio Tanaka and Edmilson gave Urawa Reds a 2-1 win at home to Shimizu S-Pulse.

J. League leaders Kashima, Kawasaki, Gamba and Nagoya were given a bye into the quarterfinals because of their involvement in the Asian Champions League.

Takahashi sacked

KASHIWA , Chiba Pref. (Kyodo) Struggling Kashiwa Reysol formally released manager Shinichiro Takahashi on Wednesday and said they are in the final stages of talks to bring in Brazilian Nelsinho in a bid to turn the team’s fortunes around.

“We are in negotiations but still in the final stages. Until it is decided, (assistant coach Masami) Ihara will act as team manager,” said Kashiwa club president Shinjiro Kasai.

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