Saturday, December 2, 2006

Urawa crowned 2006 champions

Urawa crowned 2006 champions.
J-League: Urawa crowned 2006 champions

Urawa Reds have won their first ever J-League title. The club from the southern suburbs of Saitama clinched the title with a 3-2 win over Gamba Osaka, in front of 62,241 fans at Saitama Stadium.

Gamba opened the scoring after twenty-one minutes through their Brazilian ace Magno Alves, but Urawa's Brazilian Robson Ponte equalised just six minutes later. With Gamba needing to win by three clear goals to claim the championship, the title was all but wrapped up when Urawa's top scorer Washington scored a minute before half-time.

Urawa extended their lead on the hour mark when Washington claimed his second of the match, taking him level at the top of the goalscoring charts with Magno Alves. Satoshi Yamaguchi scored a late goal for Gamba but it was too little, too late, as Saitama Stadium erupted in wild celebration.

Both Washington and Magno Alves ended the season with 26 goals apiece, although Washington scored his goals in five matches less than his Brazilian counterpart.

Elsewhere in the J-League, 2005 runner's-up Cerezo Osaka were relegated after losing 3-1 at home to Kawasaki Frontale. Cerezo will join Kyoto Purple Sanga in J2 next season.

Avispa Fukuoka finished level on 27 points with Cerezo, but will contest the promotion/relegation playoff courtesy of having a better goal difference - by just two goals.

Fukuoka will take on Vissel Kobe, who finished third in J2. The matches will take place at Kobe Wing Stadium on December 6, with the return leg at Hakatanomori Stadium in Fukuoka on December 9.

Kashiwa Reysol will join Yokohama FC in the First Division next season, after both teams won promotion from J2. Kashiwa secured their return to the top flight after a one year absence by beating Shonan Bellmare 3-0 at Hiratsuka Stadium.

Copyright © Michael Tuckerman & Soccerphile.com

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