Soccer

Takashi Usami leads Fortuna to top of German second-tier table

Kyodo

Takashi Usami scored his third goal in as many games and had an assist as Fortuna Dusseldorf edged St. Pauli 2-1 to climb back to the top of the Bundesliga second-division table on Sunday.

Usami’s Samurai Blue teammate Genki Haraguchi also started in the game in which Andre Hoffmann picked up Usami’s cross from the corner to put the hosts ahead in the eighth minute. Usami made it 2-0 in the 74th minute with a low shot into the bottom right corner.

Aziz Bouhaddouz halved the deficit in stoppage time at Esprit Arena but it was not enough as St. Pauli dropped to 10th despite winning two games and drawing another over the previous three.

“I’m finally playing my kind of soccer. I’m gradually finding the sense for attacking, the sense I had lost (due to lack of playing time with Augsburg last season),” said Usami who scored his fifth goal of the season.

It was the first time Usami and Haraguchi had lined up alongside each other in Fortuna’s starting lineup.

“I did the best I could today. I’m getting better but I still have my good days and bad days. Hopefully, I’ll get to play the full 90 minutes next time,” said Haraguchi who played for the first time since he suffered a concussion in a Feb. 2 game.

At De Grolsch Veste in the Netherlands, midfielder Ritsu Doan netted his sixth goal of the season while playing the full 90 minutes in Groningen’s 1-1 away draw to Twente.

“It was an ideal goal,” said Doan. “I want to get more goals like that. I got exhausted in the last 15 minutes or so.”

Yuya Osako assisted Koln’s opening goal in a 3-2 Bundesliga loss to Stuttgart at Rhein Energie Stadion in Germany. Claudio Pizarro, 39, became the fourth-oldest goal scorer in league history but Mario Gomez replied with a brace as Stuttgart came from behind to win.

At Red Bull Arena in Salzburg, Takumi Minamino recorded an assist in the home team’s 1-0 victory over Rapid Vienna, setting up midfielder Valon Berisha’s 73rd-minute goal in the Austrian Bundesliga.

Keisuke Honda assisted on the equalizer by Alexis Pena in the 53rd minute but goals at Estadio Nemesio Diez by Fernando Uribe and Luis Quinones allowed Toluca to defeat Pachuca 2-1 and leave it in 10th place in Mexico’s top league.