NAGOYA – Shun Nagasawa blasted Gamba Osaka to victory with four first-half goals against Nagoya Grampus in their Levain Cup match Wednesday night.
The 29-year-old striker scored every goal for the visitors in their 4-1 win, bringing up his hat trick in less than half an hour at Paloma Mizuho Stadium.
Nagasawa struck his final goal four minutes from the end of first-half regulation, as Nagoya’s defense leaked four goals for the second time in the competition after losing to Urawa Reds by the same score in the round-robin opener.
Ryota Aoki hit the 89th minute consolation for Grampus, who have struggled to keep a clean sheet since their return to the J. League top flight this season.
The win leaves Gamba second in Group B on six points after three matches, one point behind leader Sanfrecce Hiroshima, who drew 0-0 at home with Urawa Reds in one of the other seven league cup matches played around Japan on the night.
Yokohama Marinos beat Niigata Albirex 3-1 away to top Group A on seven points, two clear of Vegalta Sendai, who beat FC Tokyo 3-0 at home.
Jubilo Iwata defeated visiting Ventforet Kofu 3-2, leaving both teams on six points in Group B alongside Shimizu S-Pulse, who defeated winless Consadole Sapporo 2-1 at home.
Vissel Kobe moved to the top of Group D on goal difference with seven points after defeating Shonan Belmare 3-0 on the road. V-Varen Nagasaki also have seven points from three matches after beating visiting Sagan Tosu 3-2 thanks to an 87th-minute winner from Daichi Inui.