• Kyodo

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Naohiro Takahara flirted with his first J. League hat-trick in nine years as the former Japan striker scored twice in Shimizu S-Pulse’s 4-1 away thrashing of Omiya Ardija on Sunday.

Takahara, who signed with Shimizu over the winter following his sojourn in the K-League with Suwon Bluewings, netted in the space of nine second-half minutes to help Afshin Ghotbi’s side climb out of the relegation zone and up to 11th place.

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