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Soccer: S-Pulse hold resurgent Grampus to 1-1 draw

Thiago Santana, second from left, celebrates with Shimizu S-Pulse teammates after netting an equalizer in a J-League first division match against Nagoya Grampus on Aug. 29, 2021, at Toyota Stadium in Aichi Prefecture, central Japan. (Kyodo)

TOYOTA, Aichi (Kyodo) -- Thiago Santana netted a 74th-minute equalizer as Shimizu S-Pulse secured a 1-1 draw away to Nagoya Grampus, who saw their three-game run of wins with clean sheets come to an end in the J-League first division.

    Naoki Maeda handed the home side the lead in the 57th minute but Santana's side-footed volley rolled into the far corner after Noriaki Fujimoto, on loan from Vissel Kobe, delivered a cross from the right at Toyota Stadium.

    "I'm glad to score and contribute to the team. His ball came where I was moving to," said Santana after his eighth goal. "It's an important point and we'll keep working hard."

    S-Pulse remain without a win in seven games and sit 16th, three points above the relegation zone.

    In an intense first half of few chances, the visitors had the first attempt to trouble the opposing keeper three minutes from the interval when Fujimoto headed Eiichi Katayama's cross straight at keeper Mitch Langerak.

    Grampus had their chance at the other end as Sho Inagaki laid the ball off for left-back Yutaka Yoshida, whose fierce effort from distance stung the palms of keeper Shuichi Gonda but could only get a corner.

    Santana thought he scored 10 minutes after the break only to be flagged offside before Maeda struck a thunderous effort from the edge of the box in a crisp counter, Grampus winning back the possession inside the opposition half with Kazuki Nagasawa feeding the winger.

    But Santana's clinical effort ensured the team shared the spoils with Grampus, who had lost three straight before their three previous wins themselves.

    They sit sixth, level on points with Kashima Antlers, and Kobe, who have a game in hand, and Sagan Tosu, who won 1-0 away to Vegalta Sendai.

    Urawa Reds were held to a goalless draw at Shonan Bellmare, while Kashiwa Reysol won 2-1 at home against Yokohama FC. John Mary scored a brace as Avispa Fukuoka cruised to a 3-0 home win over Tokushima Vortis in the battle of promoted sides.

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