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Soccer: Okuno, Toyokawa lead Cerezo in 4-1 thrashing of Marinos

Yuta Toyokawa of Cerezo Osaka. (Kyodo)

OSAKA (Kyodo) -- Hiroaki Okuno and Yuta Toyokawa bagged a pair of goals each Saturday as Cerezo Osaka dismantled reigning champions Yokohama F Marinos 4-1 in the J-League first division.

    Ange Postecoglou's side arrived at Yanmar Stadium seeking to avenge their 2-1 loss to Cerezo at home last month, while the hosts were aiming for back-to-back wins after beating last-place Shonan Bellmare midweek.

    Both sides looked to hit their opponents quickly on the counterattack, but Miguel Angel Lotina's men were far more ruthless with their chances in wet and slippery conditions.

    Cerezo took the lead in the 10th minute when Tatsuhiro Sakamoto wrong-footed Thailand defender Theerathon Bunmathan on the right wing and sent in a curling cross for Okuno to head home.

    Marinos came within inches of scoring on a counterattack late in the half when Cerezo keeper Kim Jin Hyeon produced a diving save to deny Marcos Junior.

    Okuno added his second in the 67th minute, scoring from a tight angle after Hiroshi Kiyotake's header flew wide.

    Toyokawa opened his account for the season four minutes later, trapping a long ball from Eiichi Katayama and chipping Marinos keeper Yuji Kajikawa with an audacious shot from 20 meters out.

    The second-half substitute, who has missed much of the pandemic-affected season with a knee injury, scored his second with another excellent finish in the 80th minute, running onto a ball over the top from Okuno and calmly slotting from the edge of the box.

    "Because I've been hurt, I haven't helped the team as much as I wanted. They came a bit late (in the season), but these goals are a confidence boost," the 26-year-old Toyokawa said.

    Substitute Kota Mizunuma netted in injury time to salvage a small measure of pride for Marinos, whose schedule is set to become even more hectic next month when the Asian Champions League resumes.

    The win moves Cerezo past FC Tokyo into second place in the J1 standings. With title favorites Kawasaki Frontale having opened up a seemingly unassailable lead, Cerezo and seventh-place Marinos are among a handful of sides battling for a top-three finish, which includes a ticket to next year's ACL.

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