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Gamba Osaka beats Urawa Reds 2-0 to extend J-League title chase


SAITAMA, Japan — Kodai Sato and Shu Kurata scored late goals as Gamba Osaka beat Urawa Reds 2-0 on Saturday to extend the J-League title chase for at least another week.

A win for Urawa would have given Reds the title but Sato scored in the 88th minute and Kurata sealed the win in stoppage time.

Gamba improved to 59 points, two behind Urawa with two rounds remaining. Urawa's defeat threw a lifeline to third-placed Kashima Antlers, four points back after a 2-1 win over Kawasaki Frontale.

Next weekend, Urawa is away to Sagan Tosu, which is in fourth place and five points off the pace following a 1-0 win over relegated Tokushima Vortis. Gamba hosts Vissel Kobe while Kashima travels to Cerezo Osaka.

In other matches, Albirex Niigata beat FC Tokyo 3-1 while Yokohama F Marinos edged Vissel 2-1.

Ventforet Kofu beat Sanfrecce Hiroshima 2-0 to improve to 39 points and ensure a place in the top flight next season.

The bid to avoid relegation has been reduced to four teams: Vegalta Sendai and Shimizu S-Pulse on 35 points, Omiya Ardija on 32 and Cerezo Osaka on 31.

Kashiwa Reysol beat Omiya 2-1 while Vegalta and Cerezo drew 3-3. Shimizu drew 2-2 with Nagoya Grampus.

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