Emperor's Cup: Gamba thrash Grampus
Gamba Osaka retained the Emperor's Cup after emphatically beating Nagoya Grampus 4-1 in the final of the season-ending tournament at the National Stadium.
Japan midfielder Yasuhito Endo scored twice as Gamba ended Nagoya's hopes of qualifying for the Asian Champions League.
Gamba had already booked their place in the ACL after finishing third in the recently concluded J. League.
Nagoya found themselves a goal down after just seven minutes when Lucas slotted home a Masato Yamazaki pass, but they levelled four minutes before the break when Naoshi Nakamura headed home after being set up by Josh Kennedy,
Kennedy came close to putting Nagoya ahead in the 50th minute when he headed Shohei Abe's cross just wide of the post before the Australian failed to connect with Magnum's pass when in a good position in the 66th minute.
Nagoya were made to rue those missed chances as Gamba restored their lead 13 minutes from time when Endo collected a pass from Takahiro Futagawa and beat two defenders before firing home.
Gamba went further ahead in the 87th minute through Takahiro Futagawa before Endo rounded off the win deep in stoppage time.
''After failing to win the league, this is the title we went for and our players kept their motivation high to play this tournament to the end,'' said Gamba boss Akira Nishino.
''I'm so glad that we made it. Nagoya had to win this to get an ACL berth and we had a tough time in the second half but we played believing in our own style of football, which helped us get this result.''
Nagoya boss Dragan Stojikovic praised his players' efforts despite the loss, and insists his side can move forward and enjoy success this year.
''Unfortunately, we lost the game but I'm very proud of my players and how we played today,'' said the Serbian. ''We lost out on a place in the ACL, but this is life and we have to continue to work.
''We worked very hard to be here. I'm proud of my players for their efforts, mentality and strong character. We have things to work on and this is very important for our club. I'm very optimistic for 2010.''