Iwata beat Independiente to win Suruga title
J-League Cup winners Jubilo Iwata beat Copa Sudamericana champions Independiente 4-2 in a penalty shoot-out on Wednesday to win the Suruga bank championship.
Former Japan international goalkeeper Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi stopped two shots and victory was sealed when Yoshiaki Fujita slammed home his spot-kick.
It was Iwata's first international title since they won the Asian club championship in 1999, and came only after regular time ended in a 2-2 tie.
"This is a title won by everybody's hard work. I want to keep the momentum for the J-League. We took the lead and then went down, but our players played patiently to make it 2-2," said Kawaguchi.
Independiente took advantage of superior speed to largely control the game in the first half, but surrendered an own goal when midfielder Roberto Miguel Battion failed to clear a free kick hit by Yuichi Komano in the 11th minute.
Forward Facundo Manuel Parra's spectacular overhead shot was saved by Kawaguchi, but the visitors soon evened the score at one-all in the 33rd minute.
Hernan Gabriel Fredes sent in a corner and defender Maximiliano Nicolas Velazquez changed the course of the match with a header, allowing Eduardo Nicolas Tuzzio to hit in a sizzling right-footer from close range.
Independiente got off to a flying start to the second half when Parra beat Iwata's defenders to hit a shot that flashed past Kawaguchi into the net in the 48th minute.
But Iwata fought back. They managed to overcome prolonged Argentine pressure and tied the score when substitute forward Tomoyuki Arata struck home after a cross from the right in the 58th minute.
"I think they were a better team today. It was a good game and we went into a penalty shoot-out, but still I must admit that their accuracy was better," said Independiente coach Antonio Mohamed.
"We couldn't get into our own rhythm. That's the cause of our defeat. We couldn't cope with Jubilo Iwata's rhythm. Probably we rushed too much, because it was the final," he added.
Arsenal of Argentina defeated Gamba Osaka to win the inaugural 2008 championship, which pits the holders of the J-League Cup against the winners of the Copa Sudamericana.
Brazil's Internacional made it two in a row for South America, beating Oita Trinita in 2009 before FC Tokyo pulled one back for Japan last year, beating LDU de Quito of Ecuador.
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