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Soccer: Okuno double sends Cerezo past Gamba in Osaka derby

Hiroaki Okuno of Cerezo Osaka scores his second goal in a J-League football match against Gamba Osaka on May 21, 2022, at Yodoko Sakura Stadium in Osaka. (Kyodo)

OSAKA (Kyodo) -- Hiroaki Okuno bagged a brace as three second-half goals secured Cerezo Osaka a 3-1 comeback derby win at home against Gamba Osaka in the J-League first division on Saturday.

    The attacking midfielder's towering header handed Cerezo the lead in the 66th minute at Yodoko Sakura Stadium before he sealed the win with a low strike on a counter four minutes into stoppage time.

    The win moved Cerezo to 20 points, three clear of their local rivals, who entered the game on the back of two straight wins.

    Cerezo saw plenty of the ball in the first half but fell behind in the 33rd minute after Riki Harakawa's defensive mistake allowed Gamba forward Leandro Pereira to send in a cross from the right.

    Hiroto Yamami's header at the far post was scrambled away by Cerezo keeper Kim Jin Hyeon and the referee initially waved play on with no goal-line technology in place. But the goal was given a moment later following a check by the video assistant referee, with the footage showing the ball only just crossing the line.

    Cerezo were level 13 minutes into the second half on a counter with captain Hiroshi Kiyotake threading a diagonal ball into the box for Okuno. A poor touch let him down but Gamba defender Genta Miura's desperate clearance fell to Adam Taggart, who kept his calm to find the top corner with Gamba keeper Jun Ichimori off his line.

    Okuno grabbed his first after he rose high in the middle of the box and headed home a cross from Ryosuke Yamanaka into the bottom left corner, leaving the keeper with no chance.

    His second owed much to Seiya Maikuma, whose through ball to the right found an overlapping Okuno, who blasted past Ichimori seal the tie.

    "My prime objective is to make visible contributions like goals and assists, and I'm happy to have done that today," said Okuno. "There were lots of both sets of supporters and it was really enjoyable playing in a good atmosphere."

    Elsewhere, league leaders Kawasaki Frontale remained one point ahead of second-placed Kashima Antlers after both drew on the road, Frontale 0-0 at Sagan Tosu and Antlers 1-1 at Urawa Reds.

    Third-place Yokohama F Marinos are five back of Frontale after a 1-0 loss at Avispa Fukuoka.

    Sanfrecce Hiroshima beat Kyoto Sanga 3-1 at home and Nagoya Grampus claimed a late 2-1 win away to Shimizu S-Pulse.

    FC Tokyo and Kashiwa Reysol played to a scoreless draw, while Shuto Machino's double lifted Shonan Bellmare off the foot of the table as they hang on to a 2-1 home win over Vissel Kobe, who replaced Bellmare at the bottom.

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