KOBE (Kyodo) -- Kashima Antlers clobbered Vissel Kobe 3-1 in the J-League first division on Wednesday, with Ayase Ueda and Ryuji Izumi hitting the target in the first half before Shoma Doi sealed the win with a late goal.
Antlers kept a top-three finish in their sights with the result at Kobe's Noevir Stadium, while the hosts logged a fourth straight match without a victory after winning their first three in a row under new manager Atsuhiro Miura.
Starting for the first time since being sidelined by an ankle injury in late July, Japan under-23 Ueda displayed the goal-scoring knack that has him earmarked as a Samurai Blue striker of the future.
He put Antlers ahead with a first-rate strike in the 12th minute, turning and creating room dribbling to his right before lashing a shot from outside the box into the bottom-right corner.
"It was my first time in the starting lineup for a long while, so I wanted to make a positive impact by scoring," the 22-year-old Ueda said.
Antonio Carlos Zago's men doubled the lead two minutes from the break when Juan Alano pushed forward quickly from a throw-in before crossing for Izumi to tap in from the middle of the area.
After putting Kashima under pressure with his laser-like long balls, Andres Iniesta helped Kobe hit back in the 61st minute with an in-swinging corner kick that Noriaki Fujimoto headed in from directly in front.
But the sharper, more aggressive Antlers put the match beyond doubt in the 78th minute, with Juan Alano creating once again. The Brazilian midfielder ran down a long ball and played a clever back heel cross for Doi to fire home from the left of goal.
In other J1 action, Edigar Junio and Kota Watanabe found the net for champions Yokohama F Marinos in their 2-1 win against visiting Nagoya Grampus, while strugglers Shonan Bellmare and Sagan Tosu played to a scoreless draw at BMW Stadium.
The league's runaway top scorer with 22 goals, Kenya forward Michael Olunga, will play for Kashiwa Reysol in next month's Levain Cup final against FC Tokyo despite an impending call-up to his national team, Reysol manager Nelsinho said Wednesday.
Olunga will join the Kenyan squad for African Cup of Nations qualifying after the Nov. 7 league cup final at National Stadium, Nelsinho said.