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Urawa Reds beat Cerezo Osaka 1-0 to take J-League lead heading into World Cup break

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SAITAMA, Japan - Takahiro Sekine scored his first career goal on Saturday as Urawa Reds beat Cerezo Osaka 1-0 to head into the World Cup break on top of the J-League standings.

Sekine came off the bench midway through the second half to score a 77th-minute winner as the Reds recaptured the league lead, improving to 29 points from 14 games.

Cerezo has won just two of its last 10 matches and is 11th with 16 points.

Urawa is one point ahead of Sagan Tosu, which was held to a 1-1 draw against Omiya Ardija. Yohei Toyoda equalized for Sagan after 83 minutes.

Elsewhere, Ventforet Kofu defeated Kashiwa Reysol 3-0 for its first victory in five games, Shimizu S-Pulse drew 1-1 with Vissel Kobe, and Albirex Niigata was held to a 1-1 draw at home by Nagoya Grampus.

Shuhei Akasaki scored in the 25th as Kashima Antlers beat Tokushima Vortis 1-0. Tokushima lost for the 12th time in 14 games. Brazilian Edu scored a brace to lead FC Tokyo to a 3-0 win over Gamba Osaka.

On Sunday, Kawasaki Frontale host Yokohama F Marinos while defending champion Sanfrecce Hiroshima plays at Vegalta Sendai.

The J-League starts again on July 15.

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