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Aussie Burns fires Tokyo's J-League charge

BeSoccer by BeSoccer @besoccer_com - 0 81

Pin Nathan Burns (L) joined Tokyo from Wellington Phoenix last month after being named A-League player of the year
Nathan Burns (L) joined Tokyo from Wellington Phoenix last month after being named A-League player of the year

Aussie Burns fires Tokyo's J-League charge

BeSoccer by BeSoccer @besoccer_com - 0 81

FC Tokyo kept up their surprise charge for a first J-League title with a 2-1 win over last season's treble winners Gamba Osaka on Sunday.

Australia striker Nathan Burns, who helped the Socceroos win the Asian Cup earlier this year, scored a superb goal and turned provider for Tokyo's other as the home side won their third in a row to close to within three points of leaders Kashima Antlers.

Burns, who joined Tokyo from Wellington Phoenix last month after being named A-League player of the year, set up Takuji Yonemoto for the opening goal after 15 minutes, only for Brazilian forward Patric to equalise early in the second half.

Burns gave Tokyo all three points, however, with a diving header just before the hour mark, leaving Gamba marooned in mid-table having won just two of seven games in the J-League second stage.

"We got what we deserved today," Gamba manager Kenta Hasegawa told local media. "We created chances but failed to take them. We defended poorly and need to improve in a lot of areas."

Tokyo, with 13 points from seven games, climbed into fourth place and their forward momentum is unexpected after losing a Japan striker to Bundesliga club Mainz earlier this year.

Once-mighty Kashima battled to a 3-2 home win over northerners Vegalta Sendai to improve to 16 points, while Sanfrecce Hiroshima were upset 3-0 by visiting Kashiwa Reysol to leave them second, a point behind the Antlers. Kashiwa joined Hiroshima on 15 points.

First-stage winners Urawa Reds squeezed past Shonan Bellmare 1-0 in Saitama thanks to a Tomoaki Makino goal 13 minutes after the interval as Japan's best-supported side registered only their second win.

A 1-0 victory for Nagoya Grampus away to promoted Matsumoto Yamaga saw them climb to fifth.

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