Urawa Reds beat Kashima 1-0 in 1st leg of J-League final

TOKYO (AP) " Urawa Reds took a big step toward winning their second title with a 1-0 win away to Kashima Antlers in the first leg of the J-League Championship Final on Tuesday.

Yuki Abe scored a second-half penalty to put Reds firmly in control ahead of the second leg in Saitama on Saturday.

Urawa is looking to secure its first league crown since 2006.

First-stage winners Kashima lost their last four games of the regular season and finished in third place in the overall standings, 15 points behind Urawa, which advanced directly to the final after finishing top of the table.

Kashima earned a spot in the final with a 1-0 win at second-placed Kawasaki Frontale in the semifinal playoff on Nov. 23.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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