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J.League wrap: Gamba Osaka relegated

Gamba Osaka and Vissel Kobe were relegated from the J.League as the season drew to a thrilling close on Saturday.

Gamba went down to Jubilo Iwata 2-1 away from home, while Vissel slumped to a 1-0 loss at champions Sanfrecce Hiroshima.

Albirex Niigata thumped the already-relegated Consadole Sapporo 4-1 at home, condemning Gamba and Vissel to the J2.League.

Gamba, the 2008 AFC Champions League winners, were one of only five teams to have featured in the Japanese top flight every year since its inception in 1993.

Masanobu Matsunami’s men were highest scoring team in the league this season, but also conceded more goals than any other side.

Gamba finished in 17th place on the table with 38 points, one point behind Vissel in 16th, while Sapporo were rooted to the bottom with a measly 14 points.

Niigata, who occupied 17th heading into the final round, climbed to 15th and league safety with 40 points.

Elsewhere, Urawa Reds clinched the third and final AFC Champions League berth with a 2-0 win over Nagoya Grampus at home.

Urawa were fifth ahead of the match, but moved to third with 55 points after Sagan Tosu (53 points) were defeated 1-0 away to Yokohama F. Marinos and Kashiwa Reysol (52) suffered a 2-0 loss at Kashima Antlers.

Meanwhile, FC Toyko stunned second-placed Vegalta Sendai 6-2 in the Japanese capital.

Shimizu S-Pulse hosted Omiya Ardija in a 0-0 stalemate, while Cerezo Osaka and Kawasaki Frontale played out a 2-2 draw in Osaka.

Hiroshima captured their first league title with 64 points, ahead of Sendai on 57.

Sat 1 December, 2012
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