Soccer / J. League

Takashi Usami brace lifts Gamba past Bellmare

Kyodo

Takashi Usami scored either side of the break to lift Gamba Osaka to a 3-0 win at Shonan Bellmare in the J. League first division on Sunday.

The win moved Gamba into ninth place on 38 points, seven clear of the relegation zone, where Bellmare remain 16th on 31 points in the first division’s promotion-relegation playoff spot.

Kosuke Onose opened the scoring at BMW Stadium in the 10th minute with his sixth goal of the season, volleying home a fluffed clearance from a corner kick after two Bellmare defenders collided in their attempt to head the ball clear.

Usami doubled Gamba’s lead in the closing seconds of the first half. Midfielder Yasuhito Endo drew three defenders to him as he charged straight up the middle into the penalty area before laying off to Usami, who veered past a defender and fired home.

Usami made it 3-0 five minutes after the break on a counter attack after a careless long pass in Gamba’s half, picking up the ball on the left and sprinting past the retreating Bellmare defense to fire in from the corner of the box.

“Our only goal here was getting those three points,” said Usami, who returned to Gamba in June after three seasons in Germany. “We prepared well for this game over the past week. It was a good play by Endo to get the ball to me, but that’s what he always does.”

The loss was Bellmare’s fifth straight.

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