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Gotoku Sakai opened his J. League account with a contender for goal of the season Saturday as Albirex Niigata boosted their survival hopes with a 4-2 defeat of Yokohama F Marinos at Big Swan.

Cho Young Cheol opened the scoring after 20 minutes, and two goals in the space of a minute from Sakai and Brazilian striker Michael put Niigata in control. Bruno Lopes secured victory to put Niigata five points clear of third-from-bottom Ventforet Kofu, beaten 1-0 at home by Kawasaki Frontale, with six games left.

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