TOKYO (AFP) - Japan international midfielder Yasuhito Endo scored twice and set up another to lead defending champions Gamba Osaka to a 4-1 victory over Nagoya Grampus in the Emperor's Cup final on Friday.
Osaka have now won the knock-out tournament three times.
Brazilian striker Lucas opened the scoring only six minutes into the first half after a quick passing move started by Endo on the left.
Nagoya missed a crucial chance to equalize when Keiji Yoshimura's shot smacked the left post in the 30th minute.
Ten minutes later Nagoya drew level when Keiji Tamada sent a long ball into the Osaka area, where Australian international Josh Kennedy provided a perfect cross for Naoshi Nakamura to head home.
After a period of sustained Nagoya pressure in the second half, Endo dribbled to the edge of the area on the counter-attack and fired a left-footer to regain the lead in the 77th minute.
He then exchanged passes with Takahiro Futagawa, who made it 3-1 in the 85th minute before Endo put the game beyond Nagoya's reach in injury time.
"I believed that we would create scoring chances sooner or later," said Endo, adding that Nagoya's tactics meant Osaka "couldn't play our usual game."
Osaka coach Akira Nishino noted that "for Nagoya, it was their last chance to qualify for the AFC Champions League, so they played aggressively in the second half."
Osaka had already qualified for the AFC Champions League by finishing third in the J-League competition.
"We couldn't win a trophy this season, so we wanted to win this one," said Nishino.
"It was very tough until the end, but my players kept their motivation high and they did a very good job."
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