• Kyodo

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Holders Kashima Antlers claimed their first win of this year’s Nabisco Cup as they came from behind to beat Nagoya Grampus 3-1 on Wednesday.

Nagoya, which like Kashima had two losses in Group A, led at halftime after a strike from Ryunosuke Noda, but goals from Yasushi Endo, Caio and Gen Shoji left the home side empty-handed at the final whistle at Paloma Mizuho Stadium.

Nagoya hit the post through Noda five minutes in, and took the lead through the 27-year-old striker seven minutes before the break as he met Taishi Taguchi’s free kick with a sweetly struck first-time left-footed volley from six yards out.

Kashima drew level through Endo seven minutes after the interval as the midfielder turned Shun Obu inside out with a sharp turn before rolling the ball through the leg of ‘keeper Seigo Narazaki with his weaker right foot.

“I heard someone shout ‘block his left foot,’ so I decided to have a go with my right and that worked well,” Endo said. “It was a tough game, a loss today would have meant being out of the tournament so we were all determined.”

Forward Caio beat the offside trap on the hour but inexplicably blasted way over the bar from eight meters with only the keeper to beat.

But he made no mistake six minutes later after Narazaki could only block a short-range effort from Shoma Doi, putting the ball in the Brazilian’s path with the goal gaping.

Yuma Suzuki’s header from a left-hand corner also wasn’t held by Narazaki and Shoji pounced to make it three for Kashima in the 71st minute, and things went from bad to worse for Grampus as Swedish defender Ludvig Ohman was sent off for a second bookable offense with seven minutes to go.

In two other Group A games, Jubilo Iwata edged past Ventforet Kofu 1-0 at home thanks to an early goal from former Saint Ettiene man Daisuke Matsui, while Omiya Ardija won 1-0 away to Shonan Bellmare with a goal from Slovene Nejc Pecnik to lead the table with seven points.

In Group B, Kawasaki Frontale cruised to their first win of the competition with a 5-0 away win at Albirex Niigata as both Shogo Taniguchi and Kenta Kano grabbed a brace.

Vegalta Sendai salvaged a 1-1 draw at Sagan Tosu through Kim Min-tae’s equalizer, and leads Group B with seven points from three games. Two goals from Tatsuya Masushima helped Kashiwa Reysol come from behind to defeat Yokohama F. Marinos 3-1 away.

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