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Soccer: Sagan hold FC Tokyo to scoreless draw

FC Tokyo players line up after a J-League match against Sagan Tosu in Tokyo on Sept. 2, 2018. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- FC Tokyo's uphill battle for the J League first-division title failed to get any easier on Sunday after they were held to a scoreless draw at home by struggling Sagan Tosu.

The second scoreless draw for third-place FC Tokyo left them winless in the league for five-straight games and 13 points behind leaders Sanfrecce Hiroshima with nine games to play.

"We had plenty of chances but were unable to finish. We blew this," said FC Tokyo defender Sei Muroya. "We were able to keep a clean sheet in our last game against Shonan -- and there, too, we only needed one goal but didn't get it. Still, if we keep plugging away like this, things will go our way."

Sagan tried as best they could to get the ball to former Spain international Fernando Torres, but FC Tokyo's backline rarely gave the visitors a clear sight of the goal.

"We're having trouble scoring, but everyone is positive about scoring in training and we believe the goals will come. We were in some tough spots in tonight's game, but our movement was really good in defense. Our back line was very solid," FC Tokyo head coach Kenta Hasegawa said.

"We've got nine games left and somehow we're going to have to be more accurate with our shooting so we can win and get more points from those games."

FC Tokyo are on 42 points, four behind second-place Kawasaki Frontale and one ahead of Consadole Sapporo in fourth place.

At the other end of the table, Sagan remain 16th in the 18-team J1, three points from safety.

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