Football
Urawa Reds 4 Kawasaki Frontale 1 (5-4 agg): Takagi caps amazing comeback
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Urawa Reds 4 Kawasaki Frontale 1 (5-4 agg): Takagi caps amazing comeback

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Urawa Reds are into the AFC Champions League last four after beating J-League rivals Kawasaki Frontale 5-4 on aggregate.
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Two goals in the final six minutes completed a stunning second-leg comeback for Urawa Reds as they secured a 5-4 aggregate win over Kawasaki Frontale to take their place in the AFC Champions League semi-finals.

Trailing 3-1 from the first leg three weeks ago, Urawa turned the tie around against their 10-man J-League rivals, with late strikes from Rafael Silva and Toshiyuki Takagi proving decisive in a 4-1 victory.

The 2007 winners looked beaten when Elsinho, a scorer from the first leg, extended Kawasaki's lead in the tie.

But, in a key period before half time, Shinzo Koroki levelled for Urawa before drawing a foul that saw Shintaro Kurumaya sent off.

Urawa piled on the pressure in the second half and substitute Zlatan Ljubijankic gave them hope, before Silva and Takagi struck in a sensational 117-second span to book a last-four tie against Shanghai SIPG.

 

Kawasaki extended their aggregate advantage in the 19th minute when Kengo Nakamura's throughball was reached by a stretching Elsinho, his touch diverting the ball into the net after home goalkeeper Shusaku Nishikawa had made dreadful mistake to commit and charge out of goal.

Urawa responded 10 minutes before half time as Shinya Yajima's perfectly weighted pass found Koroki and he made no mistake from close-range to register his fourth goal of the tournament

Kawasaki were then reduced to 10 men when Kurumaya challenged Koroki with a high boot to the face.

The visitors barely launched an attack in the second half as they attempted to preserve their lead and hosts Urawa reduced the aggregate deficit to one with 20 minutes remaining when Yosuke Kashiwagi swung in a corner from the right and Ljubijankic sent a looping header over keeper Jung Sung-ryong.


In a frantic finish, Urawa levelled the tie when Silva collected a pass from Kashiwagi and fired past Jung to move on to six goals for the tournament.

And Takafumi Hori's men completed their stunning recovery with their next attack, Takagi's volley finding its way into the far corner from Ryota Moriwaki's floated pass.

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