Sunday, April 29, 2007

Cerezo Osaka - Thespa Kusatsu 1-0

Starting members:
GK: Yoshida

DF: Haneda - Sakata - Maeda - Fujimoto

MF: Nakayama - Sakemoto - Miyamoto - Hamada

FW: Furuhashi - Kakitani

Shots: 4-4

Cerezo won their 4th game of the season this weekend, when they played Thespa Kusatsu at home. The game provided few chances, and it looked like both teams were more afraid of conceding goals than wanting to score them. However, Cerezo got off to a good start after Yoichiro Kakitani scored a beautiful goal in the 13th minute after a fine cross by Nakayama. It was the first ever goal for the 17 year old striker, and by that he also became the youngest goalscorer in the Cerezo history.

This victory takes Cerezo up into 7th place, 8 points behind the 3rd and 4th placed team. With a win next round as well, which is a home game against Tokushima, Cerezo might make contact with the top teams again. Cerezo haven't really impressed in any of the games they've played this season, but one should keep in mind that the team is very young, and they've had their fair share of injury problems. Although promotion might be a too big of a task for the youngsters this season, it's not impossible. When the more established players like Hiroaki Morishima and Ze Carlos get's their season back on track, things might start to look better. What's important for now, is to steal as many points as possible against the relative weaker opponents that they are facing.

J League 2 Round 12 - results

C: Ishii 67
Shots: 13 - 12
Attendance: 13,781

Sagan Tosu - Tokyo Verdy 1969 2 - 1 (1 - 0)
S: Fujita 37, Hirose 63.
T: Kanazawa 46
Shots: 12 - 13
Attendance: 7,023

Shonan Bellmare - Montedio Yamagata 0 - 4 (0 - 1)
M: Kitamura 21,57, Ishikawa 58, Kifuji 89.
Shots: 5 - 19 
Attendance: 5,875

Shots: 12 - 12
Attendance: 3,941

(Vegalta Stadium)

V: Tanoue 73, Nakashima 89
Shots: 18 - 9
Attendance: 15,897

All 4 top teams won this round, and it's now become a small gap ( 3 points) from 4th to the pursuiters. Vegalta easily fought off last-placed Mito home in front of a packed stadium, and it was never any doubt where the points were going. Consadole's match was a bit more evenly-played, but thanks to Ishii's first goal ever in J.League Consadole still holds the 1st place. Avispa travelled to Tokushima, which also was an even game. Avispa's prolific in-form striker Lincoln bagged all 3 points for the visiting side with a late goal though. Montedio travelled to Bellmare, and met a team that was in just as good form as themselves and had the same amount of points. However, Montedio showed pure class and totally outclassed the home side. Sagan had 4 wins in a row home against Montedio prior to this game, but that streak was brutally put to a halt here. Poor Tokyo Verdy continued their unbelievable horrendous form when they played at Sagan. Although it was an even battle for most parts of the game, Sagan proved to be the most efficient team. This was Tokyo's 6th ( ! ) loss in a row now, and most of the fans DEMAND that coach Rui Ramos should be fired immediately. To make it worse, they will miss both Hulk and Diego due to suspensions for their next game.

Friday, April 27, 2007

J League 2 Round 12 - Preview

Cerezo Osaka
Thespa Kusatsu
Cerezo travelled to Fukuoka for the midweek game, and managed to get a point in a tough away game. The game ended 2-2, and were pretty evenly played. Cerezo outshot Avispa 10 to 7, and according to some Cerezo fans, they should have scored even more. For this game, Cerezo were without several important starting members, and a draw was on paper the best they could hope for. As it turned out, Cerezo might should have deserved all points. Avispa took the lead early in the 1st half, but after that Cerezo controlled more and more. 2 quick goals in the 2nd half looked to be enough for the visitors, before Avispa again equalized with 10 minutes left to play. Thespa played Ehime away, and picked up a well-deserved 1-0 win. Thespa outshot the hosts 10 to 6, and created the most dangerous chances. Central defender Chika, who played his first game after an injury had put him on the sidelines for some time, proved his value to the team by scoring the only goal just before the break.

Cerezo are still without their 2 important Morishima’s. However, in the Avispa game Cerezo proved that they could create goals without them too. Midfielder Are returns from suspension. Thespa can probably field their best lineup, as they have no major injuries or suspensions. The teams have never met before. Cerezo’s home form is a stuttering 3-2-3, but on the 4 home games they’ve played in J2 this season, they have 2-1-1. Thespa away has 2-3-3, but this season they’ve got an impressive 2-2-1 on their 5 away games. Both teams are situated on the lower half of the table, with Thespa in 8th and Cerezo 9th.
Thespa are fully capable of upsetting the home team in this game, and they’ve managed to draw both Kyoto and Vegalta away this season. Cerezo has been very inconsistent this season, but their last match at Avispa was positive.. Thespa has been very good in their away matches, and on their 4 last they’ve only conceded 3 goals. Hopefully Cerezo can continue from where they left at Avispa, and claim all 3 points.

Consadole Sapporo
Ehime FC
Consadole didn’t play last round, so their last game was last weekend, when they played Tokyo Verdy home, in a thrilling 4-3 win. Consadole opened the game very good, with 3 goals in 16 minutes. Tokyo replied minutes after though, and with 2 quick goals at the start of the 2nd half, the teams were levelled again. Consadole wanted more, and midway through the 2nd half they regained their lead. Tokyo pushed forward for another goal, but Consadole’s usually so tight defense withstood the pressure. Ehime played Thespa at home, and deservedly lost their game 1-0. Thespa were clearly the better team, and Ehime’s poor season continued. In 11 games so far, Ehime’s lost 7 and only taken 8 points. Ehime’s problems clearly lies in attack, with only 7 scored goals. Only in the impressive 3-0 win against Kyoto home have they scored more than one goal.

The teams have only met 4 times before, which gives us a record of 1-1-2. Ehime’s 2 wins both came in Ehime though. Consadole’s home form is 4-3-1, with 9-6 in goal difference. Prior to their last game against Tokyo, they had 5-3 in 7 games. In other words, Consadole are rarely involved in high scoring battles. Ehime’s away form is 2-2-4, and this season they have 1-1-3. Last season, Ehime picked up more points away than home, while Consadole had the same record home as they had away. This season however, Consadole looks a completely different team. With Vegalta only picking up a draw at Montedio, Consadole now finds themselves at the top of the table. They’ve only scored 13 goals in 10 games, but with only 6 conceded that has proved to be enough. Consadole are big favorites here.
Sagan Tosu
Tokyo Verdy 1969
Sagan somewhat undeservingly picked up a point when they played at Kyoto last round. Sagan took an early lead after a blatant mistake by oe of the Kyoto defenders, but the teams were levelled again in the 20th minute. Kyoto outshot Sagan 17 to 8, and should have won the game by several goals. However, Kyoto’s forwards seems immune to score goals at the moment, and Sagan eventuallu held out for a draw. Tokyo’s mildly spoken horrible form continued when they played last season’s bottom placed team Tokushima at home. A 3-0 win for the visitors was nothing else than a shocking result. Tokushima scored 2 goals early in the first half, and Tokyo never managed to recover after that. The usually so creative Tokyo players actually saw the away team create more chances this game, with 12 to 11. A late goal to make it 0-3 ended all hope for the home team to get anything from this. As pointed out before, Tokyo arguably holds the most talented mix of players there is in J2, but an incompetent coach and total lack of strategy makes the team underperform again and again. Also, the Tokyo players looks like a bunch of individuals, and doesn’t play together as a team.

Former NT member Nanami is out for the visitors, but Tokyo are well equipped in midfield, so it shouldn’t be too much of a loss. Their 4 previous meetings gives us 1-1-2. Sagan’s home form is 4-0-4. with big variation in results. 2 times this season they’ve lost 0-5 at home, but they’ve scored 5 themselves on 1 occasion. Tokyo have 2-2-4 on their last 8 away, and they’ve lost their last 3. Sagan has the worst defensive record in the league, with a total of 23 conceded goals. Tokyo is only slightly better, with 18. The difference is that Tokyo actually scores goals as well, not only conceding them. I don’t see how Tokyo’s form can improve here, as they have just dug themselves deeper and deeper the last games. Beside the Consadole game, where they actually played some good football at times, they’ve fully deserved to lose all their games.Again, they are very talented, but as long as they don’t work together as a team, they are unlikely to get anything from this. But, this game could go either way, as both teams are in bad form and Tokyo are on paper by far the better team.

Shonan Bellmare
Montedio Yamagata
Shonan played Mito away last round, and picked up their 4th win in a row with a 2-0 victory. Mito had 2 early goals wrongly disallowed, and Shonan proved very efficient and scored on their 2 only major chances in the game. Montedio held Vegalta to a thrilling 3-3 draw at home, but according to chances, they should have secured all points. Vegalta took the lead on 2 occasion early in the game, but both times Montedio replied instantly. Vegalta once again claimed the lead, and this time it looked it was going to be enough to secure all points. However with 4 minutes left Montedio once again equalised, and the teams eventually shared the spoils. Although it was a good result on paper for Montedio,they must feel they squandered too many chances here. These results take both teams on 18 points, the same as 3rd placed Avispa has. Montedio stretched their unbeaten run to 5 games.

Both teams lost some players due to injuries last round, and especially Shonan will suffer from it. The very impressive brazilian defender Jean, who was an important member for FC Tokyo in J1 for years before he surprisingly choosed Bellmare before this season, wil surely be missed. He is the main reason why Bellmare cunnretly holds the best defensive record along with Consadole. Montedio are without their veteran midfielder Zaizen, but on the positive note they get Watanabe back to take his place.

Their last 10 meetings gives us 4-5-1 for Shonan, and all of Shonan’s victories came at home. Shonan’s home form is 3-1-4, but their last 4 gives us 3-1-0. Montedio away has 4-2-2, and this season they’ve managed 3-1-1 in 5 games. Both teams are in great form, and find themselves fighting for promotion. It’s early in the season though, and neither of the teams are expected to keep this form of theirs. Shonan have historically a very good record home against the visiting side, and a home victory here seems very likely to happen. The most Montedio can hope for here is a draw I think, but since both teams are in such good form it’s gonna be tight.

Tokushima Vortis
Avispa Fukuoka
Tokushima put on a brilliant display when they visited a poor Tokyo Verdy last round. They won 3-0 in a game they fully deserved to win.Tokushima scored 2 early goals that stunned the home team, and after that they defended well and relied on counter attacking. Tokyo failed to get to any big chances, and when Tokushima scored their 3rd goal late in the 2nd half, they literally gave up. This was last year’s bottom placed Tokushima’s 2nd win this season and they climbed to a 10th place in the table. Avispa were held 2-2 by a visiting Cerezo, and although it was an even game, Avispa must count themselves lucky not to have lost it at the end. Avispa were outshot 10 to 7, but the draw prolonged their unbeaten run to 5 games. Avispa now lies in 3rd, ahead of 2 other teams on goal difference.

Tokushima’s long injury got longer when midfielder Ishida picked up a knock last round. Their 4 previous outings gives us 1-2-1. Tokushima’s home form is 2-2-4, and this season they’ve only managed to pick up 5 points in 5 games. Avispa away has 3-3-2, but in J2 this season they have 3-1-1. Avispa clearly are the better team if these, and they are currently in much better form as well. With all the injuries to Tokushima, an away win seems even more likely to happen. Avispa usually scores alot of goals away, and on 3 occasions this season have they scored more than 3 goals away. Last season Tokushima scored the fewest, and conceded the most in all of J2, and meet here the 2nd highest scoring team in the league, and the team with 3rd best defensive record. Avispa are naturally big favorites for this game.
Vegalta Sendai
Mito Hollyhock
Vegalta visited in form Montedio last round, and came out of it with a somewhat undeserded 3-3 draw. Vegalta proved to be very efficient as usual, and took the lead on 3 occasions. A late and deserved goal by Montedio made the game yet another dram for Vegalta. Vegalta are the only unbeaten team this season, with 5-5-0 in 10 games. Mito on the other hand, are the only team yet to produce a win. They looked good last round when they hosted Shonan in a game they lost 0-2 though. On 2 occasions early in the game, Mito scored some perfectly valid goals, but both times they were disallowed by an incompetent ref. Mito continued to create chances, but as usual this season, they failed to score. Shonan however, proved much more efficient, and scored on their 2 only major chances in the game. Mito have gradually played better and better every game this season, but yet the team fails to score goals.

2 vital Mito defenders suffered major injuries last round, and are expected to be sidelined for several months. Mito have a very slim squad, and the loss of them will be very big. Vegalta got Shirai sent off in the latter half of the Montedio game, and he will also be missed here. Their previous 10 meetings gives us 7-3-0 for Vegalta. Vegalta’s home form is 3-5-0, and home and away they are unbeaten for the last 15 games. Mito have 2-3-3 on last 8 away, and this season they have 0-3-1. All their points so far came in 0-0 matches away.
Mito have only scored 3 goals this season, and have conceded 19. In Vegalta they meet the highest scoring team in the league, and looks destined to lose. The fact that Mito have never beaten Vegalta before does only make the victory seem more likely.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Avispa - Cerezo 2-2

Cerezo travelled to Fukuoka for a tough away game on wednesday, and fully deserved the draw. Abraham Lincoln gave the home team an early lead, which also were the only goal in the 1st half. 2 quick goals after the break by Maeda and Nakayama suddenly put Cerezo in the lead, only to be levelled again after Hayashi scored in the latter stages of the match.

It was Nakayama's first ever goal in the J.League actually. Kakitani fired off a shot, which Avispa's GK failed to held, and all Nakayama had to do was to place the ball in the open net.

It was a completely different Cerezo team that fielded the Hakatanamori Stadium this round than the one that were held by Mito 0-0 at home. The players were much more aggressive, and showed willingness to fight for the team. All in all it was a good result, but with so many chances left squandering, Cerezo might feel they should have taken all points.

Cerezo Line-up:

GK : Motohiro Yoshida

DF : Kazuya Maeda, Kota Fujimoto, Kenji Haneda, Kenjiro Ezoe

MF : Ze Carlos (32 Sakemoto), Noboro Nakayama( 85 Kagawa), Takuya Miyamoto, Takeshi Hamada

FW: Yoichiro Kakitani, Tatsuya Furuhashi ( 89 Kokeguchi)

Attendance: 6694
Shots: Avispa 7 - Cerezo 10

Man of the Match ( Cerezo) :


Monday, April 23, 2007

J2 Round 11 Previews

Avispa Fukuoka
Cerezo Osaka
Avispa comes from a 3-0 win away at Thespa, where they outshot the opponent 21-14. The game was not as one-sided as the scoreline suggests, and Thespa should at least have scored a few goals. The win took Avispa up to 3rd place in the table, and they look to be in very good form at the moment. Cerezo slipped up once again home against Mito, in a very boring encounter. Cerezo struggled to come to chances, and Mito focused more on the defensive part. Cerezo had as much as 7 regular starting members out for this game though.

Both Avispa and Cerezo were relegated from J1 last season, and currently Avispa looks most likely to win promotion back to J1. Last season’s meetings were the first ever between the teams, and Avispa won the home match 1-0 while the away match ended in a 0-0 draw. Avispa’s home form is 2-5-1, but they won their 2 last. Cerezo away has 2-1-5 on last 8, and on the 5 away matches this season they’ve only won 1 and lost the other 4. Avispa usually doesn’t score much goal home, and only on 1 occasion this season have they scored more than 1 goal. However, they are the 2nd highest scoring team in the league, but most of their goals have come in the away matches. Cerezo are not a good away team, and their only win this season came against Ehime. Both teams get some vital members back from suspension and injuries, and Avispa’s superior form, and home advantage makes them natural favorites.

Ehime FC
Thespa Kusatsu
Ehime took their 2nd win of the season last round when they hosted Kyoto. Ehime won the game 3-0, in a game that could have gone either way. Kyoto created the most chances, but it was Ehime that scored the goals. Kyoto got 2 players sent off late in the match, and all in all it was a deserved victory for the home team. Thespa hosted Avispa, and lost 0-3. The game was pretty evenly played at times, but Thespa’s attackers failed to hit the target. Avispa maintained their perfect record against Thespa, and took their 5th win in 5 games against them.

Their 4 previous meetings gives us 2-1-1 for Ehime. Ehime’s home form is 2-2-4, while Thespa away has 1-3-4. Thespa are unbeaten on their 3rd last away games though. Last seasons meetings at Ehime ended with a 1-0 win for Ehime and a dull 0-0 draw. Ehime’s win against Kyoto last round was their 1st home win this season. Thespa are the team that draws most matches in J2, but most points are picked up at home. Last season, Thespa only picked up 3 wins and a total of 13 points in 24 away matches. Ehime on the other hand, were the worst home team last season. It will be interesting to see if Ehime can continue from where they left it against Kyoto, or if Thespa can continue their fine away run this season.

Kyoto Sanga F.C.
Sagan Tosu
Kyoto’s fine run came to a halt last round when they played at Ehime. Ehime had a good day, and thanks to some dodgy officiating by the poor referee, Ehime won 3-0. But all in all Ehime deserved the win, but the scoreline is a bit flattering. Kyoto got 2 players sent off in the second half, and especially the second one where Teshima picked up his 2nd yellow card, was a horrible call by the referee. In the brawl-up after the incident, coach Minobe also received the red card and was sent to the stands. At that point, Ehime was already 2-0 up and Ehime’s win seemed secure. Sagan had Bellmare home, and lost 0-5 home for the 2nd time this season. The game was not as one sided as the scoreline suggests, but clearly Sagan has some work to do on their defence. This was the 3rd time that the Sagan GK had conceded 5 goals this season, and they now have the worst defensive record by far in the league.

The teams have met 8 times before, which ended with 4-1-3. However, Sagan won the 3 last encounters back in 2005. Kyoto’s home form is 2-4-2, but they are unbeaten this season at home. Sagan has 3-1-4 on last 8 away, but this season they’ve only picked up 1 point in 4 away games. Sagan looks very dispirited nowadays, and the pressure are rising on their coach. They don’t look anything like the team that finished 4th last season. Kyoto looks sharp, despite their accident at Ehime. They dropped down to 5th after that loss, but are only point behind Avispa, who currently hold’s the playoff spot. In this game Kyoto are big favorites, but the loss of the 2 suspended defenders from last round will clearly be missed.

Mito Hollyhock
Shonan Bellmare
Mito picked up their 2nd point of the season at Cerezo last round, and defended well all through the game. Cerezo made it easy for them though, by poaching up high balls for their small forwards which the tall Mito defenders cleared easily. Mito’s form has improved over the last couple of matches, but their problems lies in attack. Only 3 goals have been scored so far this season, and with 17 goals conceded it says itself that they have a problem. Shonan picked up a wonderful 5-0 away win at Sagan last round, and they currently lies in an impressive 6th, only 2 points clear 3rd place. Shonan have been very cheap in defence, only conceding 6 goals in their first 9 games. their problem lied in attack, and before this game they had only scored a goal pr game.

The previous 10 meetings between the teams resulted in 4-2-4. Mito’s home form are 0-2-6 in last 8, and they’ve lost all their 5 home games this season. Shonan picked up their 1st away win for the season at Sagan, and have 1-3-4 on their last 8 away. Shonan have taken most of their points at home this season, but must find themselves as favorites when they travel to Mito. As I said before Mito’s form has improved over the last couple of matches, and although the goals and points are yet to come, they might be able to upset Shonan in this game. Shonan have the best defensive record in the league along with a few other teams, while Mito have scored the fewest goals.

Montedio Yamagata
Vegalta Sendai
Montedio continued their fine run when they played at Tokushima last round. After their early goal, Montedio put all their men behind the ball and managed to protect the lead for the rest of the game. This was Montedio’s 4th win in a row, and they now find themselves in 4th place, behind Avispa on goal aggregate. Vegalta didn’t play last round, and in their last game, home against Sagan they picked up a fine 5-2 win to keep their unbeaten record. Hiroki Bandai was the MOM with 3 nice goals.

Previous 10 meetings ended with 2-5-3, and the games usually produced few goals. Montedio’s home form is 5-1-2, and they’ve won their 2 home matches. Vegalta have 4-3-1 on last 8 away, but this season they’ve won 4 and drewn one away. The most scoring team in the league, Vegalta, meets here one of 3 teams with the best defensive record. Vegalta have been deadly in front of goal, and if Bandai continues his good form here, there might be more goals coming. Montedio will probably rely on an early goal, as they did last round, and then try to defend the lead to the end. It’s an open game, but the Vegalta players should be well rested, since it’s over a week since their last game.

Tokyo Verdy 1969
Tokushima Vortis

Tokyo were 3-0 down after just 16 minutes last round when they played at Consadole. However, they replied just minutes later, and after 2 quick goals in the start of the second half the teams were levelled again. Consadole regained their lead in the middle of the second half though, and since Tokyo failed to respond once again, all points ended up with Consadole who won 4-3. Tokushima hosted Montedio, and lost 1-0 after an early goal by the visitors. Montedio put all their 11 men behind the ball after their goal, and Tokushima struggled to get to any big chances. Tokushima find themselves very low in the table now, with just 7 points in 9 games.

Tokyo won both the previous 2 meetings home against Tokushima, 4-2 and 4-1. Away Tokushima won 1, and 1 ended in a draw. Tokyo’s home form is 5-1-2, and prior to their last home loss against Kyoto, all 3 home matches this season had been won. Tokushima away has 1-4-3, and their last victory came 8 matches ago. Tokushima doesn’t concede many goals while on tour it seems, with just 9 goals conceded on the last 8. Tokyo on the other hand, have scored 17 goals on last 8. Nothing but a win is good enough for Tokyo, who have lost 4 games in a row now. On paper it’s an easy win, but with Tokyo’s stuttering form anything can happen. Coach Rui Ramos is destined to resign if his team loses here, so the pressure is on the players. Tokushima finished dead last last season, and meet the biggest club in J2 here.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Cerezo Osaka - Mito Hollyhock 0-0

Starting Lineup:

GK: Yoshida
DF: Haneda Maeda Ezoe Fujimoto
MF: Nakayama (Kokeguchi) Sakemoto (Niwa) Miyamoto (Hamada) Are FW: Furuhashi Kakitani

Shots: Cerezo 10 - Mito 7
Attendance: 5580.

Cerezo failed to produce a win against rock-bottom placed Mito at home. The game was extremely dull, and according to some of the fans it was the worst Cerezo game they've ever seen.

Cerezo had 6-7 regular starting members out, including both the Morishima's and Ze Carlos. And although that's one way to explain the poor result, it's not an excuse. Even with their 2nd string squad Cerezo SHALL beat a visiting Mito. Suddenly promotion back to J1 looks like a distant dream.....

Cerezo's play were all but inspiring, and instead of keeping the ball on ground and try to outplay the technically inferior Mito players they kept playing long balls for Furhashi and Kakitani to work with. Both the Cerezo forwards are relatively small built, and their strength doesn't lie in the air. Of course clearing these balls were a piece of cake for the towering Mito central defenders, and usually it ended in nothing.

On the positive note it was good to see both Kakitani and Nakayama getting their first ever starts in the Cerezo shirt. Both players did their jobs, and were not to blame for the poor result. Kakitani might should have scored though, but his shots were too easy for the Mito goalkeeper.

Hopefully some of the injured players are back for Wednesday's game away at Avispa. They meet an Avispa team in good form at the moment, and a loss there might lead to coach Tsunami losing his job....

J League 2 Round 10 - Results

The results from the other J2 matches this weekend:

Ehime FC - Kyoto Sanga F.C. 3 - 0 (1 - 0)
Ehime:Tanaka 15, 49, Moriwaki 84
Sent Off: Kyoto: Nogueira 72, Teshima 76.

Ehime took a much needed victory against Kyoto, and a pretty convincing one too. Kyoto outshot them 14-11, but with Toshiya Tanaka finally being able to find the net Ehime proved too good for the visitors and ended their 4 games unbeaten streak. Kyoto got 2 players sent off in the closing stages, and especially the 2nd one for Teshima, who were sent off after 2 yellow cards, seemed like a dodgy call. Also, Kyoto coach Minobe was sent off just minutes later.
With a win here, Kyoto would have been joint 2nd with 19 points, but instead Ehime climbed some places.

Thespa Kusatsu - Avispa Fukuoka 0 - 3 (0 - 2)
Avispa: Takanori 18 , Tanaka 37, Alex 49.

An easy victory for the visitors it may seem, but the home team were not as bad it looks. Avispa had 21 shots while Thespa produced 14, but Avispa's superior finishing skills were enough to take Avispa back up into 3rd place. Avispa now have 5 wins in 5 games against Thespa, and sails up as one of the favorites for one of the 2 promotion spots.

Tokushima Vortis - Montedio Yamagata 0 - 1 (0 - 1)
Montedio: Yohei 10

Montedio just keep improving, and won their 4th game in a row. Who would have thought to find Montedio as high as 4th after 10 rounds? Tokushima created most chances, with 11 against Montedio's 7. After Yohei's early goal Montedio put all their men behind the ball, and defended bravely to secure all 3 points. On Wednesday though they are up against the only unbeaten team this season, Vegalta Sendai.

Consadole Sapporo - Tokyo Verdy 1969 4 - 3 (3 - 1)
Consadole: Soda 10 , Davi 20, 64 Fujita 16. Tokyo : Kanazawa 25, 59, Hulk 56.

The biggest match of the round proved to be the most thrilling one as well. In a blazing encounter Consadole proved just too strong for Tokyo, who lost their 4th game in a row. However, in this game they played some good football and might have deserved a point.
Consadole opened the match with 3 goals in the first 16 minutes and it looked like it would be an easy win for the home team. Kanazawa reduced minutes after though, and with 2 quick goals in the 2nd half the teams were levelled again and suddenly Tokyo looked the better team. Man of the Match Davi wanted it different though and put Consadole back in the lead midway through the 2nd half. This probably took the gas out of the Verdy players, who struggled for the rest of the game. The pressure must be rising on Verdy coach Rui Ramos who have had a horrible month with 4 consecutive losses.

Sagan Tosu - Shonan Bellmare 0 - 5 (0 - 3)
Shonan: Hara 14, Kato 18, Adiel 38, Ishihara 79, Sakamoto 81.

The biggest upset of the round came at Sagan. Shonan didn't stop before they had put 5 balls behind the poor Sagan keeper, who on 3 occasions this season have conceded 5 goals. Sagan, who are usually a good home team were clear favorites here, and this was actually Shonan's first win in 9 away games. Sagan are now 2nd to last, with the worst defensive record in the league

Thursday, April 19, 2007

J.League 2 - Round 10 Preview

Cerezo Osaka
Mito Hollyhock

Cerezo fully deserved to lose last round when they played at Montedio. Montedio was the better team for the entire game, and thanks to a 87th minute goal they claimed all 3 points. Cerezo had collected 2 fine wins prior to that game, but they literally hit the wall in Montedio. Their aging playmaker Hiroaki Morishima picked up an injury last week, and was cleary missed. He is set to be out for at least a couple of weeks. Poor Mito lost again last round, when they hosted high-flying Consadole Sapporo. Mito’s game was more evenly played that one would presume, and Mito actually created more chances than the visitors. Still, that didn’t stop Consadole from winning 2-0 after 2 early goals. Mito are yet to win a game this season, and have only scored 3 goals and conceded a total of 17 in 8 games.

Cerezo have 5 regular starting members out due to either injury or suspension, and it will be interesting to see if their replacements are up for the job. Cerezo have 3-2-3 on their last 8 home matches, and have won their last 2. Mito have 5 away losses in a row now, and on their last 8 they have 0-2-6. The teams have never met eachother before. Even with half their starting line-up out, Cerezo must find themselves as clear favorites in this game. Mito are horrible away, and it seems very unlikely that they will get anything from this. However, Cerezo’s form isn’t the best, and they vary alot in their performances.

Ehime FC
Kyoto Sanga F.C.
Ehime lost 1-0 at Avispa last round, in a match where both teams created a fair share of chances. Avispa finally broke the deadlock in the 80th minute though, and fully deserved the victory. This leaves Ehime 2nd to last in the table, with only 1 victory so far. Kyoto played home against Thespa last round, and looked set to take all 3 points. However, against the play in the 89th minute, Thespa equalized and saw the game end 1-1. Kyoto was by far the better team that match, and should have won it by at least 2-3 goals.

Ehime’s home form is an abysmal 1-2-5, and they’s lost their 2 last. Kyoto has 2-2-4 on their last 8 away, but they’ve won their 2 last. The teams have never met before.
Kyoto played J1 team Vissel Kobe in a friendly midweek, and took a convincing 3-0 victory. However, neither teams fielded their best line-ups for that game. More pleasantly for Kyoto, is that their biggest acquisition in pre-season, last year’s Ventforet Kofu ( J1) captain Kazuki Kuranuki made his debut after a long time injury. He is reportedly in the squad or this game.

Thespa Kusatsu
Avispa Fukuoka
Thespa somehow managed to get a point last round, when they visited Kyoto. Kyoto outplayed Thespa for most of the game in every possible way, and should have taken all 3 points. Thespa’s goal came in the 89th minute, which made the game their 4th draw this season. Avispa won a thrilling 1-0 match home against Ehime. Both teams created lots of chances, but all in all Avispa deserved all 3 points. Avispa’s goal were scored by Abraham Lincoln late in the game, which took the team to 4th in the league. Unfortunately for Avispa, goalscorer Lincoln were sent off the following minute though.

The teams have met 4 times before, and all the matches ended with Avispa victories. Thespa’s home form is 1-4-3 while Avispa away have 2-2-3 on last 8. On paper, Avispa are favorites here, but with all their absentees Thespa might be able to get something from this. Last season, Thespa were along with league winners Yokohama FC the team with most drewn matches.11 of the 15 draws came at home. This season they’ve started just the same, being one of the 4 teams with 4 drewn matches. Pierre Littbarski’s Avispa needs a win here to not fall to much behind the top teams, but they are without 4 of their best players.

Tokushima Vortis
Montedio Yamagata
Tokushima didn’t play last round, and in their last game they met league leaders Vegalta Sendai home in a 2-2 draw. Tokushima were the better team, but still let Vegalta take the lead on 2 occasions. Tokushima created enough chances to have taken all 3 poins though, and only good goalkeeping from Vegalta’s keeper saw the game end in a draw.
Montedio picked up a convincing 2-1 victory home against Cerezo last round, which took them to 5th place in the table. Montedio’s rough and hard style of play seemed too much for the visiting Osaka team. Montedio’s winning goal didn’t come before the 87th minute.

Both teams are missing some of their regular starting members for this game. The teams have met 8 times before (2-2-4), and last season Montedio won all 4 meetings between the teams. Tokushima’s home form is 2-2-3, while Montedo away has 3-3-2. Last meeting between the teams saw Montedio take a whopping 5-0 victory away.
Montedio are in really good form at the moment, and are currently on a nice 3 victories in a
row streak. Last’s season last placed team Tokushima doesn’t look that good ,and have only picked up 1 win so far. They played a very good game against Vegalta in their last game though, and might upset the visiting team.

Consadole Sapporo
Tokyo Verdy 1969
Consadole continued their nice run at Mito last round, where they picked up a 2-0 win. Consadole met a tougher team than they had predicted, and if it hadn’t been for their ultra-tight defence and good goalkeeper Takagi, Mito might could have got something from the game. Both Consadole goals came in the 1st half, and the 2nd half was a dull encounter where Consadole defended their lead, and Mito struggled to break through.
Tokyo’s problems looks to never end, and last round they lost 3-0 to Shonan Bellmare away. The pressure on coach Rui Ramos are increasing, and if he doesn’t turn things around soon, he should be start looking for a new job. The score was a bit misleading, as all Bellmare goals came after 2 of the Verdy players were sent off in the middle of the second half. Up to that point, the game was evenly played.

In their 4 previous meetings, Consadole have won 3, and Tokyo 1. Consadole’s home form is not good for a 2nd placed team with 3-3-2 on last 8, while Tokyo away has 2-2-3 on their last 8. Consadole has by far the best defensive record this season, with only 3 conceded goals in 9 matches. However, they have only managed to score 9 goals as well. Tokyo have lost 3 games in a row now, and after a good start they now find themselves in 6th position. They’ve conceded 8 goals in their last 3, and only scored 2. Consadole have gone 8 games now without losing, and have had a great start to their season.
Verdy coach Ramos have been experimenting with his squad lately, rotating the team every game, and looks a bit desperate in his actions.
Tokyo might have a better and ”bigger” team than Consadole on paper, but here they meet a Consadole in great form.

Sagan Tosu
Shonan Bellmare

Sagan played at Vegalta last round, and lost 5-2 after a great 2nd half by the home team. Vegalta and especially Hiroki Bandai, who scored a hattrick, looked sharp in attack, and created chance by chance. The Sagan defence struggled with the speedy Vegalta wings, and fully deserved the loss. Sagan are now along with bottom-placed Mito the team with most conceded goals (17). Shonan beat Tokyo Verdy 3-0 at home last round, after 2 Verdy players were sent off in the middle of the second half. All Shonan goals came after the red cards, and before that the game was pretty even. Interestingly, last time Vedy visited Shonan, they also lost 3-0.

The teams previous 10 meetings, gives us a 4-2-4, home and away. Sagan won the last 3 though. Sagan’s home form is 5-0-3, and are currently on a 2 win streak. Last home match, they throbbed poor Mito Hollyhock 5-1. Shonan away has 0-4-4 on last 8. Both teams find themselves in the lower half of the table, with Shonan some places above. Shonan have the best defensive record after Consadole, with only 6 conceded goals. However, they have only scored 8. Shonan are very poor away, and meet in Sagan a team that supposedly should compete in the upper half of the table. Last season they surprised everyone, and ended 4th in the league, just missing out on a playoff spot.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

J League 2 Round 9 - Results

Montedio Yamagata - Cerezo Osaka 2-1 (M: Kitamura 51, Usui 87. C: Sakamoto 76)

Cerezo slipped to a deserved 2-1 defeat at Montedio, after a late goal from central defender Usui. Montedio created by far more chances than Cerezo, and outshot them 10 to 4. Cerezo's goal were scored by Sakamoto, who converted a free kick from the egde of the box.

In this game, Cerezo lacked the will to win, and were out-performer by the aggressive and hard working Montedio players. Cerezo's team is very young, and the loss of Hiroaki Morishima for this game, who works as a "father-figure" for the rest of the group, may have been one of the reasons why the young squad performed so badly. Aki is out for at least a couple of weeks according to reports which is a huge blow for Cerezo.

The result was a setback in the league as well, as Cerezo finally looked to have got their season started. Now they're stuck in the middle of the table, and HAVE to improve over the following matches to have any chance of joining the promotion race. The next game which is to be held at Nagai, against Mito Hollyhock is a must-win game, and if Cerezo fails to claim all 3 points there, heads should start to roll.
Here are the results from the other games played this weekend:

Mito Hollyhock - Consadole Sapporo 0-2 (C: Masaya 17, Genki 37)

Avispa Fukuoka - Ehime FC 1-0 (A: Lincoln 80. Sent off: Lincoln 81)

Shonan Bellmare - Tokyo Verdy 3-0 (S: Kato 73, Adiel 85 , Tonoike 89. T: Sent off: Togawa 60 , Nagai 67)

Vegalta Sendai - Sagan Tosu 5-2 (V: Ryang 27 , Bandai 46,66,79 , Nakashima 59. S: Fujita 21 , Leonardo 62)

Both Sapporo and Vegalta won their matches, and Hiroki Bandai scored a very nice hat-trick against Sagan which finally saw Vegalta win a home game. Tokyo Verdy continued their horrible form, and lost 3-0 away at Bellmare. The game was pretty even up to 2 Verdy players were sent off halfway through the 2nd half though. Coach Rui Ramos's future at Verdy looks uncertain unless he turns around the teams poor form over the next couple of matches.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

J.League 2 - Round 9 Preview

Montedio Yamagata
Cerezo Osaka
Montedio, as Cerezo, comes from 2 back to back victories, and looks on decent form. They find themselves in 6th, one place above Cerezo. Montedio have met decent opposition so far this season, and their 2 losses both came against top teams. Last round they played at Thespa, where they collected all points with a well deserved 2-0 victory. Only Sapporo has a better defensive record than Montedio, but just like Sapporo, Montedio are having a hard time finding the net. Cerezo also comes from back to back victories, and beat Sagan 2-0 away last round. Cerezo controlled most parts of the game, and especially their wing play looked impressive. Both goals came in the 2nd half, after some fine crosses from the wings. Veteran playmaker and the heart of Cerezo, former NT member Hiroaki Morishima were along with a couple of other players rested for that game, for unknown reasons. But with 3 games in less than a week, there is a possibility that it was to preserve their energy so they would be fit for this game.

Both teams have some injury problems especially on their offensive players, and last round both Watanabe of Montedio and Morishima of Cerezo picked up a knock.
The teams have never met before in the league. Montedio’s home form is 4-1-3 in last 8. Cerezo away have a lowly 2-2-4, and before they won last round, they had lost all their previous 3 away matches in J2. The game is wide-open, as both teams looks to be on good form. All the injured players, especially for Cerezo can prove to be vital for this game.

Kyoto Sanga F.C.
Thespa Kusatsu
Kyoto are on a good run now, and took a very impressive 3-1 victory at Tokyo Verdy last round. They now find themselves in 2nd place, and looks like a real promotion contender. The game against Tokyo was evenly played, but Kyoto turned out to be the more effective team. The brazilian strikers Andrè and Paulinho especially turned in great games.
On Wednesday, Thespa lost 0-2 home at Montedio, which ended their 5 games unbeaten row. Montedio outshot Thespa 13 to 6, and were the better team.

The teams have met 4 times before, with Kyoto winning all 4 and an impressive goal difference of 14-0 in those games. Kyoto’s form are getting better, but on the last 8 home they have only 2-4-2 (Kyoto was in J1 last season). However, on the last 4 they have 2-2-0. Thespa away has 2-2-4 on their last 8.
Historically this should be an easy win for Kyoto, and with their current form it looks even easier.Kyoto are one of the highest scoring team this season, and one would expect many goals here as well. Thespa meet a team that are classes above on paper, but if you consider their fine 5 unbeaten games in a row streak prior to the loss at Montedio, they have shown that they can put on some good displays even against the best J2 teams.

Vegalta Sendai
Sagan Tosu
Number 1 placed Vegalta are still the only unbeaten team in J2 so far this season. Last round they met Tokushima Vortis away, and were surprisingly outplayed by the home team. Still, they managed to salvage a draw. Vegalta took the lead on 2 occasions, but both times Tokushima levelled it. Goalscorer Lopes were sent off in the middle of the 2nd half, which probably affected Vegalta’s approach to the rest of the game. Sagan on the other hand, showed class when they notched up a fine 5-1 win home against last-placed Mito Hollyhock. The game wasn’t as onesided as one should presume though, and Mito actually managed 10 shots on goal while Sagan had 15. Sagan came from a 3-0 away loss at Cerezo prior to that match, and turned in a totally different performance this time around.

Vegalta have drewn all their home matches this season, despite dominating the play. On the last 10 meetings between these we get 5-0-5. Vegalta’s home form is 3-5-0 on last 8, but as previous mentioned the last 3 at home all ended in draws. 11th placed Sagan have 3-2-3 on their last 8 away. This season though, they’ve only managed 1 point from their 3 away games.
Vegalta will clearly miss their 2 brazilian midfielders Jonilson and especially Lopes for this game, but Vegalta has some young and talented replacements that probably will take their place. The big and passionate home crowd of Vegalta surely wants to see their side getting the 1st home win of the season, and will do whatever they can to cheer them on.

Avispa Fukuoka
Ehime FC
Avispa battled it out with 3rd placed Consadole away last round, in an evenly played match that ended scoreless. As most teams this season, Avispa struggled to break down the ever so impressive Consadole defence. That left Avispa in 5th place, 5 points from the top. Ehime hosted Cerezo Osaka, and lost 2-0 in a game Cerezo controlled most parts of. Ehime have now lost 3 games in a row, and find themselves in 12th place with only 4 goals in 8 games.

This will be the first meeting ever between these teams. Avispa ended their 7 home games without a win run with the 2-1 win against Tokyo Verdy last weekend. Their home form is a
lowly 1-5-2 in last 8. Ehime away are decent, with 3-2-3 on last 8. Avispa have scored alot of goals this season, and have one of the best strikers in J2, Alex on their payroll.

Mito Hollyhock
Consadole Sapporo
Mito’s poor season continued last round, when they were beaten 5-1 away at Sagan. Mito wasn’t as bad as the scoreline suggests, and actually created enough chances to win the game, if the finishing had been better. And before that, in their previous home game against Kyoto, Mito put in an even better performance. But again, poor finishing skills, and 2 goals that should have been disallowed for Kyoto, resulted in yet another loss. Mito have only taken 2 points form it’s first 7 games, and have both the worst defensive and offensive record in the league.
Sapporo once again kept a clean sheet in a 0-0 draw home against Avispa last round. Only Kyoto and Vegalta have managed to score against Sapporo this season, and their goal difference is 7-3 in 8 games. Clearly their problem doesn’t lie in the back, it’s more the strikers and their ultra-defensive tactics that proves to be the problem. In their game against Avispa they actually created a fair share of chances, but it clearly wasn’t enough.

In their last meetings it’s been pretty even, with 4-2-4. Mito’s home form is abysmal, with 0-2-6 in their last 8, and 3 losses in a row. Consadole on the other hand, have an impressive 5-1-2 on their 8 last away matches. Consadole's impressive GK this season, Takagi is hoping for yet another clean sheet this game. the ever so impressive midfielder Seiya Fujita will probably create alot of chances for Consadole.

Shonan Bellmare
Tokyo Verdy 1969
Shonan didn’t play on wednesday, and last weekend they played Tokushima Vortis home, where they took a fully deserved 2-1. Shonan hasn’t been involved in any high scoring games so far this season, and have a 5-6 goal difference in 7 games. Shonan are very defensive in their build-up to the games, and it almost looks like they are playing for 0-0 results. Tokyo have had a slump in their form, and lost their 2 last games.Both were against last year’s J1 teams, but with the lineup Tokyo possess, they should beat all J2 opponents. What’s even worse,is that in both games they fully deserved the losses. They practically lost the game in midfield against Avispa, and coach Rui Ramos needs to get his players to work more as a team again. Also, their star, FW Hulk seems to struggle when the defenders gets too physical with him.

In their previous 4 meetings, which all came last year, both teams won their 2 home matches by good margin. Shonan’s home form isn’t that good, with 2-1-5 in last 8. However, they are unbeaten at home for 3 games now. Tokyo away has 2-3-3 in their last 8, and varies alot in their performances. They usually plays well against poor teams though.
If Tokyo goes on their 3rd loss in a row here, some of the fans might start to call for coach Rui Ramos to step down.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Ehime FC - Cerezo Osaka Match report

Ehime FC - Cerezo Osaka 0-2 ( Kota Fujimoto 53, Ze Carlos 77)

Cerezo line up:
GK: Yoshida DF: Yanagisawa (Fujimoto) - Ezoe - Yamashita - Haneda MF: Miyamoto - Hamada - Ze Carlos - Sakemoto FW: Furuhashi (Kakitani) - Yasuhito Morishima (Kokeguchi)

Cerezo continued their good run at Ehime, where they notched up a fine 2-0 win. Cerezo was the better team all through the match, but the score at half time were only 0-0. But only 8 minutes after the break Cerezo finally broke the deadlock with a fine header from a corner kick by substitute Fujimoto .It was the young defender's first goal of the season, and if he continues like this, it won't be long before he's able to hold down a regular place in the back 4.

The second goal came from a nice cross that Ze Carlos, who also scored last round, converted with yet another header. Again, the wing players (this time Sakamoto and Ze Carlos) played outstanding and produced many fine crosses through the game. Furuhashi who scored last round, were used as a striker this time along with Yasuhito Morishima. The older Morishima, Hiroaki were for unknown reasons not used in this game.

It was nice to see the Cerezo players once again go the distance, and it looks like their stamina have improved from last season. This win takes Cerezo up to 7th place, and if they win their game in hand, they will just be 3 points short of 3rd placed Consadole Sapporo. 6th placed Montedio awaits next round, and it will be exciting to see if Cerezo can get something from that game too.

All in all a great result!

J.League 2 - Round 8 Preview

Ehime FC
Cerezo Osaka
Cerezo finally showed some of their potential last round with a fine 3-0 victory home against the disappointing Sagan Tosu. It was a pretty one-way kind of a game, and Cerezo dominated the play. The very talented youngsters Kakitani and Fujimoto finally showed some of their potential,and were outstanding. New brazilian signing, Are knocked up an injury, and will be missed for this game. Ehime lost 3-1 away at Montedio, in a game where they created few chances. That loss makes Ehime the team with the worst defensive goal record in the league, with 12 conceded goals in 7 games. And when they only have scored 4, it says itself that they have a problem. One of Ehime’s main problems is that their team contains mostly of rented J1 players that failed to get some playing time for their original clubs. This is something they have done for several years, renting new players every season.You may wonder how the team spirit is when the players are constantly being changed. Also, the team has one of the youngest starting line-up in J2.
Ehime FC: DF Tomoya Kanemori - regular starter
Cerezo Osaka: DF Takahito Chiba, MF Are, FW Kim, all regular starters.
Ehime FC: None
Cerezo Osaka: None
Cerezo should continue from where they left last round, if they have a hope of battling for promotion. Cerezo are a much better team than Ehime, and shall easily beat them even away.

Prediction score: 0-2 (Tatsuya Furuhashi, Yasuhito Morishima)

Monday, April 9, 2007

Cerezo Osaka - Sagan Tosu Match Report

Finally! For the first time this season Cerezo looked like promotion contenders. Sagan was thrashed 3 to nothing home at Nagai. Although Cerezo beat Kyoto in their last home-match, they didn't really impress playwise.

One of Cerezo's main weaknesses have been a young and somewhat shaky defence, providing many oppurtunities for the opposing strikers. That pretty much explains why Cerezo were relegated last season as well. For the Sagan game, new signing Yamashita finally made his debut, and along with Kenji Ezoe in the central defence kept the Sagan strikers at bay.

In midfield Furuhashi and Jose Carlos were constant threats on the flanks, and Mr. Cerezo himself Hiroaki Morishima also in good form Sagan stood no chance. Up front Yasuhito Morishima keeps impressing, an although he failed to score this game, he was played a big game.

Since the departure of Okubo, Nanami and Nishizawa, Cerezo are left with a relative young and inexperienced team. This will probably result in various performances, as the youngsters will struggle to be consistent all season through. Also, maybe too much responsibility have been placed upon the shoulders of the remaining "veterans" as Furuhashi, Yoshida, Morishima, Ze Carlos etc...

Among the youngsters, FW Kakitani and highly gifted midfielderShinji Kagawa have already tasted some league action, and will probably be used frequently all season.

All in all a convincing vitory for the Flaming Pink's, and such victories shows that Cerezo are capable of fighting for one of those promotion spots, if they keep hitting on all sylinders.

Goals for Cerezo: Sakemoto, Furuhashi, Jose Carlos

Sunday, April 8, 2007

J League 2 Round 7 - Results

Cerezo Osaka - Sagan Tosu 3 - 0 (3 - 0) Cerezo: Ze Carlos, Sakemoto, Furuhashi

Avispa Fukuoka - Tokyo Verdy 1969 2 - 1 (1 - 1) Avispa: Yamagata, Alex - Tokyo: Miyamoto

Mito Hollyhock - Kyoto Sanga F.C. 0 - 2 (0 - 2) Kyoto: Paulinho, Nishino

Montedio Yamagata - Ehime FC 3 - 1 (0 - 0) Montedio: Akiba, Watanabe, Yokoyama - Ehime: Akai

Shonan Bellmare - Tokushima Vortis 2 - 1 (2 - 1) Shonan: Hara , Saito - Tokushima: Koyama

Vegalta Sendai - Consadole Sapporo 1 - 1 (0 - 1) Vegalta: Bandai - Consadole: Soda

Thursday, April 5, 2007

J.League 2 - Round 7 Preview

J. League 2 - round 7 Preview:
Cerezo Osaka
Sagan Tosu
Last weekend Cerezo just lost out at Consadole, 1-0, after a late goal. Cerezo struggled to get through Consadole’s tight defence, and when they did, they were stopped by GK Takagi. Cerezo had 11 corner kicks in the game, and should have managed a goal from their set-pieces. Sagan had the weekend off last round, so their last game was home against Tokushima 2 weeks ago, which they won 1-0. Sagan dominated the play, but failed to score more goals.
Cerezo Osaka: DF Takahito Chiba, FW Kim, both regular starters.
Sagan Tosu: FW Takuma Hidaka - Squad player , MF Yoshiki Takahashi - regular starter
Cerezo has had a horrible start to the season only getting 3 points and a win from their 5 first games. Most people predicted Cerezo to fight for promotion this season, but if they don’t gettheir act together soon, that looks like a difficult task. Cerezo hasn’t really impressed in the games they have lost either, so under-fire coach Tsunami has alot of work to do. Rumours has it if they lose this game, Tsunami will be ditched. Last season 4th place Sagan were predicted as a dark horse in the promotion race, but Sagan too has had a bad start to their season, only scoring 2 goals in 5 games.
The teams have never met eachother before. Cerezo’s home form are 2-3-4 in last 8, but remember that last year Cerezo played in J1. Sagan away has 3-2-3 on their last 8.
If Cerezo has any plans of fighting for promotion this season, they have to start winning soon. They meet a Sagan in bad form, which gives them a good oppurtunity to improve their own stuttering form.
Prediction score: 2-0 ( 40-35-25)

Avispa Fukuoka
Tokyo Verdy 1969

Avispa barely lost out to Kyoto away last round, after an 89th minute goal from Kyoto’s striker Andrè. The game could have gone either way, but Kyoto proved to be the best team. Avispa had 2 of their most valuable players out of that game though. Tokyo on the other hand, played Montedio home, in a game they won 1-0 after a goal by Hulk in the the 4th minute. The scoreline doesn’t really reflect the game as Tokyo should have won by a bigger margin. Wasted oppurtunities by the Tokyo forwards and good goalkeeping kept the score the same though.
Avispa Fukuoka: MF Kazuyuki Otsuka- squad player , MF Hokuto Nakamura- regular starter, MF Tatsunori Hisanaga - regular starter
Tokyo Verdy: FW Kazuki Hiramoto - regular starter
Avispa is in bad home form at the moment, with 1-5-2 on last 8. Their last win came the 21st of October last year. Tokyo’s away form is decent, but not brilliant with 3-3-2. The teams have actually never played eachother before. Avispa have their top goal-scorer Hayashi back for this match, but MF Hisanaga picked up a knock last game and will be out against Tokyo. Tokyo’s promising defender Ichiniyaga is also back from injury, and are likely to start this game.
Tokyo’s main force is Hulk, their brazilian striker. He is a one-man attack, but once too often he decides to do it on his own. If Avispa’s defenders can close him down ( as Montedio did last round), they have every oppurtunity to get something from this. Both teams have proved lethal in attack, which promises a high scoring battle. The difference though, is that Verdy possess one of the best defences in the league. High-flying Tokyo are natural favorites, and if you consider Avispa’s bad home form and the loss of 2 vital midfielders, it should be an away win . But Avispa is not a bad team, and will give Verdy a tough match. Before their last home game, which they lost, Avispa played 5 1-1 games in a row.
Prediction score: 2-3 (25-35-40)
Mito Hollyhock
Kyoto Sanga F.C.
Mito got their 2nd point of the season last round, away at Montedio. Mito defended well, and relied on counter-attacks. They created some big chances but failed to score. On the positive note, they kept a clean sheet for the 2nd time. Kyoto battled it out home with Avispa last weekend, and picked up their 2nd win of the season after a last-minute goal by the impressive forward Andrè. that might have been a breakthrough for the away team, as they have struggled to win evenly played matches earlier this season.
Mito Hollyhock: None
Kyoto Purple Sanga: AM Kazuki Kuranuki - regular starter
Mito’s home form is abysmal, with 0-2-6 last 8. Kyoto’s away form is exactly the same, with 0-2-6. Kyoto played in J1 last season though, and faced much tougher opponents. Mito have never won against Kyoto in 8 games (0-4-4), and at home, Mito has lost 3 out of 4. Mito might be the worst team in J2, and faces a ” giant” this round. It should be an easy win for the visitiors, despite their bad away form.
Prediction Score: 0-2 (15-35-50)

Montedio Yamagata
Ehime FC
Montedio lost to a better team last weekend, 1-0 at Tokyo. Tokyo dominated the play, but Montedio managed to close down their best player Hulk, and defended well for most of the game. With a little luck, they could even had managed a point, but the strikers failed to put their chances. Ehime played home against in-form Vegalta, and looked poor in a game they lost 4-0. The scoreline serves the game right, as Vegalta was by far the better team.
Montedio Yamagata: MF Takumi Motohashi - regular starter , MF Hayato Sasaki - regular starter
Ehime FC: DF Tomoya Kanemori - regular starter
Both teams are placed in the lower half of the table, with 5 points so far. Ehime has played one more game than Montedio though. Previous clashes with the two, have ended with 2 victories for Montedio, and 2 draws. Montedio are so-so at home, with 3-2-3 last 8. Ehime takes more points away than home, and got an impressive 4-2-2 on their last 8 . Montedio is on paper a better team than Ehime, something the fact that they scored 13 more points last season proves. Montedio are natural favorites, but Ehime won’t go down without a fight, and probably want’s to improve their game after their big loss last round.
Prediction Score: 2-1 (40-30-30)

Shonan Bellmare
Tokushima Vortis
Shonan surprisingly lost 2-0 at Thespa last round, which ended their impressive 8 games unbeaten away form . Thespa scored both their goals in the dying minutes of the game, but the game was evenly played with few goalscoring chances. Bellmare usually defends well, but their ultra-defensive tactic creates few goals. Tokushima played a dull 0-0 match home at Mito last round, where both teams focused more on defending than attacking.
Shonan Bellmare: None
Tokushima Vortis: MF-Noriaki Tsutsui - veteran sub , AM-Yuki Ishida - regular starter, AM Valdenir Da Silva - regular starter, MF Koji Kataoka - regular starter, DF Kensaku Omori - frequent starter
Both teams has produced 1-3-2 in their 6 opening matches, and both teams have failed to score much goals.
Tokushima currently suffers an injury problem, with several vital team-members out. This it something Bellmare should exploit, as they can field their best line-up for this game.
In their previous meetings (2-2-4, home and away), Tokushima holds the advantage. It’s often high-scoring games between these teams, and last season Bellmare won one of their home matches againt Tokushima 5-0. The other one ended with a 4-2 victory for Tokushima. Bellmare has 2-1-5 on last 8 at home, but met relatively good teams. Tokushima away has 1-4-3, and in fact their last victory came at Bellmare.
Because of Tokushima’s many injuries, Bellmare looks as favorites. It can go either ways ( as former meetings shows), but a home win seems most likely.
Prediction score: 2-0 (40-35-25)
Vegalta Sendai
Consadole Sapporo
Both teams currently find themselves in promotion spots, and are the surprise teams of the season. Last round Vegalta ran riot at Ehime, not stopping before they had put 4 balls behind Ehime’s GK. Especially AM Ryan Yong Gi and striker Hiroki Bandai played well that game. Consadole fought off Cerezo to prolong their unbeaten run to 5 games. It was a tight game, with Cerezo creating alot from set pieces, but Sapporo’s impressive defence withstood the pressure. If not, the even more impressive GK Takagi, who has kept a clean sheet for 5 games in a row, stopped it.
Vegalta Sendai: DF Hiroyuki Shirai- regular starter
Consadole Sapporo: AM Seiya Fujita - playmaker, MF Makoto Sunakawa-regular starter , MF Masaya Nishitani- regular starter, FW Dabi- regular starter
Since last game, Sapporo has 4 vital offensive contributors out due to injuries. Sapporo has only scored 6 goals this season, and with those members out, it doesn’t look like they will score any more. Previous meetings gives us 2-4-4 (both home and away). Vegalta’s home form is 3-5-0 in last 8, but both home matches this season ended in a draw . Consadole has been impressive away. with 6-0-2 on their last 8. They meet a good Vegalta team this time around though, and with all their injuries, Vegalta looks set to take all points.
Prediction score: 2-0 (45-35-20)
(Currently no players are suspended in J2)

Sunday, April 1, 2007

J League 2 Round 6 - Results

After this weekend's matches in which the top 3 teams all won, we can now see a small gap from 3rd place to the rest of the teams. Surprise packages Vegalta and Consadole both picked up victories, and especially Vegalta's 4-0 win away at Ehime was impressive.
Here's all the scores:

Consadole Sapporo - Cerezo Osaka 1 - 0 (0 - 0)

Thespa Kusatsu - Shonan Bellmare 2 - 0 (0 - 0)

Ehime FC - Vegalta Sendai 0 - 4 (0 - 1)

Kyoto Sanga F.C. - Avispa Fukuoka 2 - 1 (0 - 0)

Tokushima Vortis - Mito Hollyhock 0 - 0 (0 - 0)

Tokyo Verdy 1969 - Montedio Yamagata 1 - 0 (1 - 0)

Current Standings:

1Vegalta Sendai 6 4 2 0 13 - 5 14
2 Tokyo Verdy 1969 5 4 1 0 13 - 3 13
3 Consadole Sapporo 6 4 1 1 6 - 2 13
4 Kyoto Sanga F.C. 6 2 3 1 8 - 6 9
5 Thespa Kusatsu 6 2 3 1 7 - 8 9
6 Avispa Fukuoka 5 2 1 2 12 - 6 7
7 Shonan Bellmare 6 1 3 2 3 - 5 6
8 Tokushima Vortis 6 1 3 2 3 - 6 6
9 Montedio Yamagata 5 1 2 2 3 - 4 5
10 Ehime FC 6 1 2 3 3 - 9 5
11 Sagan Tosu 5 1 1 3 2 - 8 4
12 Cerezo Osaka 5 1 0 4 4 - 9 3
13 Mito Hollyhock 5 0 2 3 2 - 8 2

Thanks to Carlos from Consadole who uploaded highlights from the Consadole- Cerezo match. Here's the link: