Gamba lead, Nagoya chase

Gamba Osaka overwhelmed Vissel Kobe 4-0 today to open a one-point lead in the J.League standings.

Midfielder Takuya Takei picked up a rebound from a free-kick and exchanged passes with Brazilian forward Rafinha before grabbing the first goal in the 28th minute.

Gamba went from strength to strength, with South Koreans Kim Seung-Yong and Lee Keun-Ho making it 3-0 before Takahiro Futagawa added another in injury time.

They now have 50 points, one point ahead of defending champions Nagoya Grampus, who thrashed Ventforet Kofu 4-1.

They are followed by Yokohama F Marinos and Kashiwa Reysol on 47 points, seven-time former champions Kashima Antlers on 38 points, and Sanfrecce Hiroshima on 36 points.

Yokohama were held to a goalless draw by Shimizu S-Pulse yesterday, while Kashiwa stormed back from two goals down to beat Kawasaki Frontale 3-2.

Kashima trounced bottom-placed Avispa Fukuoka 6-0 with forward Yuzo Tashiro and midfielder Yasushi Endo each scoring twice. In the other game today, Cerezo Osaka defeated Urawa Red Diamonds 3-1.