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Holders Reysol march into Nabisco Cup semis

Kyodo

Kashiwa Reysol took another step toward defending their Nabisco Cup title after reaching the semifinals with a 3-1 second-leg win over Yokohama F. Marinos on Sunday night.

A well-taken late header from Eduardo wrapped up the scoring to earn the holders a 5-2 aggregate win and set up a meeting in the last four with reigning J. League champions Sanfrecce Hiroshima.

“Yokohama are a traditionally strong club but we were the better team over the two legs,” said Kashiwa manager Nelsinho.

“We have taken a major step towards the title and it doesn’t matter who we play in the semifinals.”

Hiroshima drew 2-2 with Urawa Reds in Saitama and went through on away goals scored by Gakuto Notsuda and 2013 J. League Player of the Year Hisato Sato. The first leg finished 0-0.

Shu Kurata sealed a 3-0 win for Gamba Osaka over local rivals Vissel Kobe to send Kenta Hasegawa’s men through 4-1 on aggregate.

They will face Kawasaki Frontale, who lost 3-2 at home to Cerezo Osaka but advanced 5-4 on aggregate.

At Hitachi Stadium, Yokohama seized the initiative from the opening whistle, with Takuro Yajima shooting just wide in the 18th minute before the visitors made their early pressure pay off when Yuji Nakazawa lost his marker to power in Jungo Fujimoto’s corner.

But Masato Kudo tapped home Kaoru Takayama’s pass at the far post to restore Reysol’s one-goal overall advantage.

Yuta Narawa blazed wide a glorious chance to put Marinos back in front just before the hour mark after being sent clean through shortly before the hour mark and that miss was punished when Leandro steered home a pass from Kudo.

Eduardo put the tie beyond doubt when he muscled his way in to head home in the 82nd minute.

In the Emperor’s Cup, Shimizu S-Pulse won 2-1 away to FC Tokyo in the fourth round.