Urawa mark Asian award with cup collapse

November 29, 2007

TOKYO, Nov 29 (Reuters) - Asian champions Urawa Reds awoke to a flood of embarrassing headlines in the Japanese media on Thursday following their humiliating Emperor's Cup exit.

While Urawa were being feted as Asia's team of the year at a gala ceremony in Sydney on Wednesday, Japan's best-supported side slumped to a 2-0 defeat by second-division Ehime FC.

'Trouble!' ran the Nikkan Sport's backpage headline while the Tokyo Chunichi splashed Urawa's shock fourth-round defeat over its pages under the banner 'Red Shame!'

Urawa's latest slip-up came after a 1-0 home defeat by Kashima Antlers at the weekend that sent the J-League title race into the final day of the season on Saturday.

The Reds, who beat Iran's Sepahan this month to win the Asian Champions League, paid for resting key players as their bid for an unprecedented treble fell apart.

'Our bodies didn't want to do as they were told,' shrugged Urawa defender Tulio. 'We just couldn't get our legs to where we wanted to be.

'We've played a lot of games in Asia so we were worried about getting tired but this is hard to take. Losing to a division two side is unforgivable.'

Urawa, a single point ahead of Kashima at the top of the J-League, can retain their domestic title by beating relegated Yokohama FC on Saturday.