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Cerezo win first game under new coach to reach Emperor’s Cup quarters

Kyodo

Relegation-haunted Cerezo Osaka scored their first win under new coach Yuji Okuma on Wednesday, beating second-division Jubilo Iwata 2-0 at home to reach the quarterfinals of the Emperor’s Cup.

On the fringes of this summer’s World Cup squad, Takumi Minamino hit a well-taken low drive into the bottom right-hand corner to give Cerezo the lead after half an hour at Yanmar Stadium.

And another excellent goal wrapped up the win midway through the second half, Ryo Nagai swiveling to smash a shot in off the underside of the cross bar to send his team into the last eight.

“This is a knockout competition so we came in with a fresh feeling, and we have a new coach so it was a case of starting from scratch,” said Minamino.

“We hadn’t won for a while so it is nice to win our last two games and hopefully we can take this winning form with us into the league,” he added.

Cerezo promoted youth coach Okuma for Italian Marco Pezzaiuoli on Monday, a night after they were eliminated on aggregate from the Nabisco Cup despite beating Kawasaki Frontale 3-2 away in a quarterfinal second leg.

Pezzaiuoli had not won a single game since stepping in for Ranko Popovic at the World Cup break. Cerezo’s most recent league defeat on Aug. 30, a 2-1 home defeat to Vissel Kobe, saw them drop into the relegation zone in 16th place.

Cerezo, who had preseason championship ambitions with the signing of 2010 World Cup MVP Diego Forlan, have not won in 11 straight games in the league, their last victory dating back to May 3.

In other fourth-round games, Akihiro Sato hit a brace as Cerezo’s local rivals Gamba Osaka beat reigning J. League champions Sanfrecce Hiroshima 3-1, Leandro Domingues’ 75th-minute effort earned Nagoya Grampus a 1-0 win against Thespa Kusatsu and Koji Hashimoto’s winner saw Omiya Ardija come from behind to edge Ehime 2-1.

Second-division JEF United Chiba, who saw off Kashiwa Reysol in a marathon penalty shootout in the last round, beat V-Varen Nagasaki 2-1 thanks to Kempes’ extra-time goal, Giravanz Kitakyushu knocked top-flight Ventforet Kofu out 4-3 on penalties and Montedio Yamagata won 1-0 in extra time against Sagan Tosu.