Thursday, May 31, 2007

U-20 Toulon Preview



Player Presentation Japan U-20


GK:
HAYASHI Akihiro   1987 University Player ( don’t know much about him,. but he’s a clear 2nd choice behind Takeda)
TAKEDA Yohei     1987 Shimizu S-Pulse - J1 ( yet to make his J.League debut)


DF:
OTA Kosuke   1987 Yokohama FC - J1 ( frequent starter)
FUKUMOTO Yohei  1987 Oita Trinita - J1 ( only 3 games yet, but started 2 of the last 3 for Oita)
YANAGAWA Masaki 1987 Vissel Kobe- J1 ( yet to make his debut for Vissel, frequent sub)
MAKINO Tomoaki  1987 Sanfrecce Hiroshima - J1 ( squad player, usually sub for Sanfrecce)
YASUDA Michihiro   1987 Gamba Osaka - J1 ( have started every game for Gamba this season)
UCHIDA Atsuto     1988 Kashima Antlers - J1 (vital member for Kashima)
KAGAWA Shinji    1989 Cerezo Osaka - J2 ( regular starter/important member for Cerezo)


MF:
UMESAKI Tsukasa   1987 Grenoble - France 2. ( occasional starter, rotation player)
MORISHIGE Masato  1987 Oita Trinita - J1 ( gets to play occasionally for his club)
FUJITA Seiya     1987 Consadole Sapporo - J2 ( vital member/playmaker for Consadole)
TANAKA Atomu    1987 Albirex Niigata - J1 ( sub, occasional starter for Albirex)
KASHIWAGI Yosuke   1987 Sanfrecce Hiroshima - J1 ( regular starter for Sanfrecce)
AOYAMA Jun      1988 Nagoya Grampus Eight - J1 ( have only recorded 1 J.League game for Nagoya)
HIRASHIGE Ryuichi   1988 Sanfrecce Hiroshima - J1 ( gets to play occasionally for Sanfrecce)
KANASAKI Mu     1989 Oita Trinita - J1 ( frequent starter for Oita) ( injured)


FW:
KAWAHARA Kazuhisa 1987. Albirex Niigata - J1 ( frequent sub for Albirex)
AOKI Kota       1987 JEF United - J1 ( regular sub for JEF)
HAVENAAR Mike    1987 Yokohama F Marinos - J1 ( regular sub for Marinos)
MORISHIMA Yasuhito  1987 Cerezo Osaka-J2 ( regular starter/important member for Cerezo)

Probable line-up: (4-4-2):
GK: Yohei Takeda:
DR: Atsuto Uchida
DL: Michihiro Yasuda
DC: Yohei Fukumoto
DC: Kosuke Ota
MR: Atomu Tanaka
ML: Shinji Kagawa
MC: Tsukasa Umesaki
MC: Seiya Fujita
FW: Mike Havenaar
FW: Yasuhito Morishima

There is alot of big talent in this squad, and several of the players are already vital members for their clubs. The biggest star is Atsuto Uchida of Kashima Antlers, who already last year was a prominent figure for his team. This year, Yasuda of Gamba have started every game, leaving the highly regarded U-22 member Akihiro Ienaga left on the bench for many games.
With Yasuda and Uchida on the wingbacks, we will probably see some nice offensive runs on both sides, and with the tall strikers Havenaar and Morishima waiting in the box, that might prove to be a good combination.

The midfield is well made up of both offensive and defensive talented players, and should be able to hold themselves against most teams. In this tournament though, they meet 2 top european teams in France and Germany, which will probably prove to be a tough match for them.

About the strikers, neither of them have a reputation of being prolific goalscorers, but they fight well, and always put down a great effort on the field. Havenaar, with his 194cm, should be able to win some aerial balls.

The biggest question mark of the team lies in defence and in the goal. Takeda in goal is obviously a big talent, but tends to be a bit erratic at times. With Ota and Fukumoto in central defence, they have 2 members both used to J.1 games, but they’ve never played with eachother before, so communication might be a problem.

In general, the japanese players lacks physique if you compare them to european or african players. Their strenghts lies instead in technique,agility, speed and stamina usual, and often that’s enough.

History-wise, Japan have always had a pretty good U-20 team, and they have reached the group stage in 5 of the 7 U-20 World Cups held. They eased through the Asian qualifier for the July World Cup, but just lost out on penalties to North Korea in the final.

Japan will face a tough battle getting through to the quarter-finals, but with a bit of luck and ALOT of hard work, we might see them through ;)
Hopefully we'll see scenes like this among the travelling Japan fans!



Saturday, May 26, 2007

J League 2 Round 18 - Previews


Cerezo Osaka
-
Shonan Bellmare
After only picking up 1 point from their last 4 games, Cerezo finally won again when the travelled to Mito last round. Cerezo looked really sharp for that game, and were up 2-0 by half time. 10 minutes into the 2nd half ,they were up 3-0 and the victory was secured.Rui Komatsu and Shinji Kagawa scored their very first goal for Cerezo in this game. Mito got one back though to make the score 1-3, but Cerezo controlled the game and never looked
in danger of losing their lead. Cerezo outshot the visitors 20-9. Shonan lost to a travelling Consadole side 1-2 after being 1-0 up by half time. The impressive Adiel, who played a really good game converted a free kick to put his side in the lead in the 17th minute. Consadole did some changes in the 2nd half though, and scored 2 goals to take the win. The game didn’t create many chances, as the Shonan players ( besides Adiel) struggled to break though the Consadole defence. Consadole on their hand, approached the game with a very defensive strategy and laid low for most of the game. Shonan had 9 shots to Consadole’s 6.
Cerezo are without several members here, and up front they will probably field 17 year old Komatsu and 19 year old Kakitani who’s only scored 1 goal each this season. Kagawa is in the U-20 squad, but some reports say he will play this game before he joins the rest of the U-20 squad in Toulon.

In their first meeting this season, Shonan just won 2-1 after a last minute goal. Shonan were the better team, as Cerezo struggled to create much. Actually, Cerezo’s only real chance inthe game was when they scored their goal. Shonan went up 1-0 in the 5h minute but was levelled by Are’s goal in the 28th minute. It all looked set for a draw, but a minute from time, Bellmare scored their 2nd to clinch the win. Actually that’s the first meeting ever between the teams. Cerezo’s home form is 3-2-3, and they’ ve lost their latest 2. Shonan away got 3-1-3 so far. Shonan finds themselves just behind the teams currently at promotion, and need a win here to close the gap. They meet a tough side though, and even without so many players, Cerezo is a hard team to beat. The win at Mito was the first win under new coach Levir Culpi, and the Cerezo fans are desperate for a new win here. To join the race for promotion seems a bit far-fetched now, but they are capable of beating most teams on their day. I doubt there will be many goals here, and it’s gonna be tight with Cerezo as small favorites. But hopefully Cerezo will win ^_^

Prediction Result: Win for Cerezo

Ehime FC
-
Sagan Tosu
Ehime travelled to Kyoto in a tough away game last round, where they succumbed to a narrow 2-1 defeat. Kyoto scored their first goal right before the break, and their second just minutes into the 2nd half. In the 55th minute though, Ehime got DF Kanamori sent off after picking up 2 yellow cards. However, even with only 10 players left, Ehime gave Kyoto a hard fight for the points, and in the 70th minute they put one back at Kyoto. Now that Kyoto sensed the danger of a possible equalizer from Ehime, they stepped up a gear to secure all 3 points. Nohing more happened in the game, and all in all it was a deserved victory, where Kyoto outshot Ehime 15-7.The result might have been different though, if Kanamori weren’t sent off. Sagan’s on a run now, picking up 10 points from their last 4 games. Last round they beat a travelling Vegalta side 1-0. The game were pretty even, with both teams failing to create much chances. Vegalta for once looked poor up front, and didn’t look like scoring many goals this evening. Sagan exploited this, and around the hour-mark, Keiji Takachi found the back of the net to score his 3rd goal of the season. Sagan’s defence looks revitalized, and have gone from being the worst defence in the league( they still holds the 2nd worst though), to now only have conceded 2 goals in their latest 4 matches. They’ve met good sides too, beating Cerezo, Avispa and now Vegalta. The win took Sagan 8th, only 3 points behind Avispa who currently lies in 5th. Sagan ended in an impressive 4th last season, and they were tipped as one of the outsiders for promotion this season. If they keep their current form, they might join the tough promotion race this year as well.

In their first meeting this season, Ehime narrowly won 1-0 away after an early goal from MF Oyama. The game were closely contested for most of the time, and a draw would have been the most deserved result. Sagan outshot them 11 to 9. All their previous meetings gives us 3-1-1 for Sagan, and Sagan won both their away matches at Ehime. Ehime’s home form is a poor 1-1-6 so far, while Sagan away got 1-3-4. Sagan’s only away victory came last weekend, when they beat Avispa 2-1. Along with Mito, Ehime has the worst offensive record in the league with only 10 scored goals. At home they’ve only managed to score 4, and that includes their surprising 3-0 win against Kyoto. Sagan are of course much better, but them as well hasn’t been that dangerous up front. Sagan’s defence have been horrible, but it looks like they’ve sorted it out now, and I find it difficult to see Ehime scoring any goals here. Sagan looks set for yet another 3-pointer here.
Prediction Result : Win for Sagan

Thespa Kusatsu
-
Mito Hollyhock
Thespa didn’t play last round, so their last game was against Kyoto at home, where they just lost 1-0 after Kyoto scored in the 89th minute. However, Kyoto dominated the game, outshooting Thespa 17-7 and fully deserved the win. Mito had Cerezo at home, where they saw the away side take all 3 points with a 3-1 win. Cerezo were up 2-0 by halftime, and Mito never looked like they were getting anything from this. Cerezo produced as many as 20 shots while Mito had 9. After a good run, Mito are now back to ”the usual”. On the positive note though, Mito’s 2nd half weren’t that bad, and even when Cerezo went up 3-0, thei didn’t give up. Credit to the Mito players for that, and for sure it’s not the amount of work and fighting spirit that has been Mito’ problem this season...

Thespa are without 2 important defenders here, and the same goes for Mito actually.
Their first meeting ended with a 3-1 away win for Thespa. Mito went up 1-0 early in the 1st half, but 3 goals by Thespa in the 2nd half secured all 3 points for the away side. Both teams had ”their” half, but I think Thespa deserved the win. All their previous meetings gives us 3-4-2 for Thespa. Thespa at home this season have produced 2-2-4, while Mito away got 1-3-3. The Thespa players are well rested and fit for this game, which will be a major advantage. Mito’s small squad already suffers from a couple of injuries, and a tight schedule as well is not what they need now. I don’t leave the visitors much chance here, but they might be able to salvage a draw. Thespa are of course big favorites though, and a home win seems most likely.

Prediction result: Win for Thespa

Tokushima Vortis
-
Tokyo Verdy 1969
Tokushima were lucky to salvage a point when they travelled to Montedio last round.Montedio ”owned” the game, and should have won by a few goals, at least. Montedio had 14 shots to Tokushima’s 5. Tokyo’s fine run continued when they had Avispa at home last round. Tokyo picked up their 3rd win in the last 4 with a nice 4-2 win. The game didn’t produce that many chances, and especially Tokyo led by Hulk looked very lethal up front. Tokyo were up 2-0 by half time, but when Avispa reduced early in the second half, ifor a while it looked like Tokyo were falling apart, and Avispa taking more and more over. However, when Tokyo added their 3rd ( and 4th), all hope were out for Avispa who reduced the score to 4-2 in the last minute from a penalty.

In their first meeting this season Tokushima picked up a very impressive 3-0 away win. Tokyo were in the middle of their horrible 7 games in a row losing streak at that time, and looked very poor. The game itself was closely contested, so the big win doesn’t reflect the balance of play. It’s a completely different Tokyo side that will enter the field here, and they’re looking to revenge that humiliating loss from last time. All their previous meetings gives us 2-1-2, and the games always provides lots of goals. Tokushima at home this season got 1-3-3 so far, while Tokyo away got 2-2-4. In their last 8 games, Tokushima have only conceded 6 goals, and they look pretty good at the back now with the 3rd best defensive record in the league. They holds the 3rd worst offensive record as well, and I doubt we’ll see many goals from the home side. Tokyo are both scoring many and conceding many, and
their games usually provide lots of goals. They have arguably the best offence in J2, and will probably cause some problems for the home side here. Tokushima drew their 8th game this season last round, and with that are the teams that draws most frequently by far. They might scrape up a point here as well, but I think an in-form Tokyo side will prove to be too big a task for them.
Prediction result: Win for Tokyo

Avispa Fukuoka
-
Consadole Sapporo
Avispa travelled to Tokyo midweek, where they deservedly lost 4-2. Tokyo looked very sharp and were the best side for most parts of the game. However, when Avispa reduced to 1-2 early in the 2nd half, they looked for a while to get something from this. Tokyo recognized the threat though, and killed the game off just minutes after Avispa’s goal. Avispa’s last goal were a mere consolation, where Alex converted a penalty kick, Tokyo had 11 shots to Avispa’s 9. Consadole came from behind to win 2-1 at Bellmare midweek in a close contender. Bellmare went up early in the game, but after Consadole coach Miura did some tactical changes and replaced a few players, the away team looked a much more threatening side. Bellmare played positively, and continued to put the Consadole defence under pressure. But now Consadole attacked as well, and when Nishitani equalized from a penalty kick in the 56th minute, it was suddenly the away side that looked most likely to steal the win. Consadole prevented the Bellmare strikers any big chances, and about 10 minutes from full time, their top-scorer Davi rose high to head in the winning goal.

Their first meeting this season ended 0-0 and were a pretty dull encounter.Consadole were slightly the better team, and outshot the visitors 11-9. A draw seemed the most fair result though. Previous meetings gives us 7-3-3 for Avispa. Avispa at home this season has 3-2-3 while Consadole away got 5-1-2. Avispa’s form is poor, and they’ve lost their last 3 games now. Consadole looks strong as ever, and have now won their 4 last games, and stand alone at the top 7 points clear of 2nd place. However, for this game, they are without 4 important members. Avispa needs a win here to close the gap to the top teams, but their current form might go against them. I don’t think Consadole will lose this though, and even without some players they should pick up at least a draw. As usual in the Consadole games,I don’t think we’ll see many goals.

Prediction result: Win for Consadole

Vegalta Sendai
-
Montedio Yamagata
Vegalta lost their 2nd game in a row last round, when they travelled to an in-form Sagan. Sagan won the game 1-0, after a single goal in the 2nd half. It was quite a dull game, and Vegalta clearly suffered from the loss of their striker Bandai up front. At the end though, Sagan deserved the win. Montedio playd Tokushima at home, and must find themselves unlucky not to have won that game .They dominated the play, and created plenty of chances. The Tokushima GK had a god day though, and stopped whatever Montedio fired at him. Montedio outshot Tokushima 14-5. Montedio now lags 7 points behind Sapporo in 1st, but with a game in hand.

Vegalta gets FW Bandai and MF Chiba back from suspensions for this game, while MF Watanabe supposedly will return for Montedio.
Previous meetings gives us 3-8-2 for Vegalta, and their first encounter this season as a draw as well, 3-3. That was a very open and fast-paced game where Vegalta had the lead on 3 occasions only to see it levelled by a Montedio goal each time. Usually though, these games provide few goals and 1-1 or 0-0 are more normal results. Vegalta’s home form is 2-3-2 so far, while Montedio away got an impressive 5-1-1. Apart from the 4-0 drubbing of Shonan, Montedio have struggled to find the net away. But they’ve denied the home team as well, so usually the single goal have proved to be enough. Vegalta has falled a bit behind after some poor displays lately, and are in need of a win here. This promises to be a tight and exciting game, but I doubt we’ll see many goals. With Vegalta’s poor form, Montedio are small favorites, but it’s wide open.

Prediction Result: DRAW

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

J League 2 Round 17 - Previews





Mito Hollyhock
-
Cerezo Osaka
Mito travelled to league leaders Consadole last round, where they as one should expect, lost big. It was top vs bottom, and probably the 2 most defensively-styled teams that met. Consadole were lucky to go up 1-0 in the 1st minute though, forcing Mito to attack. The game were pretty one sides though, as Mito struggled to get through the ultra-tight Consadole defence. Consadole outshout Mito 14-5, and scored 2 more goals late in the game to win 3-0. That was Mito’s first loss for a month. Cerezo played Ehime at home last round, in what was new coach Levir Culpi’s first game in charge. As usual, Cerezo created lots of chances with their offensive free-flow play, but yet again, they failed to convert their chances. Ehime proved to be alot more efficient, scoring 1 in each half, after some poor defending from Cerezo. Ehime looked very dangerous up front, and deserved the win. Ze Carlos made an earlier return from his injury than expected, but the Cerezo star didn’t have a particularly good day. He wasn’t as good as he usually is, and late in the second half he picked up his 2nd yellow card to be earned a red card.

Their first meeting ended 0-0, and were a pretty dull encounter. Neither teams created much chances, so a 0-0 draw was a fair result. Cerezo dominated the play, but struggled to get past a packed Mito defence. That was the teams first ever meeting actually. Mito’s home form this year is 0-1-6, and they’re still chasing their 1st win. Their one draw came in their last home game though, against Tokushima. Cerezo away isn’t much better, with 1-1-5 so far. Mito are still without 3 regular defenders, but 2 weeks ago they brought the youngster Kato, and last round he got his full debut as a central defender. Despite losing 3-0, he put on an impressive display and looks to become a valuable player for them while the first choices are out with their long-time injuries. Cerezo are ”as usual” without several key members here, especially on the offensive part. Even though Mito are fielding a 2nd-string defence, I doubt we’ll see many goals. The Cerezo youngsters up-front have struggled all season, and they might do it here as well. Mito have only scored 3 goals at home so far, while Cerezo has 6 goals away. We might see another nil-nil result here, but Cerezo MUST win this.

Win for: CEREZO

Kyoto Sanga F.C.
-
Ehime FC
Kyoto travelled to Thespa in the weekend, where they picked up their 3rd away win in a row. The game ended 1-0 after a last-minute goal from midfielder Tokushige. Kyoto were the best team, producing 17 shots to Thespa’s 7. Thespa fought hard though and could have ended up win the win. However, all in all it was a fair result. Ehime travelled to Osaka, where they beat Cerezo 2-0. Cerezo outshot them 17-10, but Ehime created the most dangerous chances. In fact, Ehime looked deadly up front for most of the game, and could have scored a few more as well. As usual Cerezo created their fair share of goal-scoring opportunities themselves, but their poor finishing let them down once again. The win put a stop to Ehime’s 4 game losing-streak, and put them only 4 points behind Cerezo in the table.

Kyoto are still without their first-choice in goal, but their replacement have done his stuff pretty good so far. For this game, the very important FW Paulinho is out due to suspension.
In their first meeting this season, Ehime fired on all sylinders, and won 3-0 at home. The game wasn’t as one sides as the scoreline suggests though, and Kyoto actually created the most chances. Kyoto got 2 players sent off in the latter stage of the 2nd half, but by then Ehime were already 2-0 up. That game is the only time the teams have met actually. Kyoto’s home form is 2-4-1 this season, while Ehime away got 2-1-4. Kyoto climbed into joint 3rd place with their last win, and now looks like one of the major contenders for promotion after a somewhat bumpy start. They’ve been struggling against the more minor teams this season though, which their 0-3 loss at Ehime shows. If it’s their star players that’s having trouble motivating themselves for the ”small” matches is uncertain, but they have to start winning those games as well if they want promotion. The last game at Thespa was positive though, and I can’t really see them lose this one. Even without Paulinho up front, they have enough firepower in Andrè and Nakayama/Tahara to tear down the dodgy Ehime defence. Also the highly rated AM Kuranuki made his first start for the club last round after being out with a long-term injury, and will probably start this as well. Ehime looked good at Cerezo last round though, and just might upset Kyoto once again here. Anyway, I think we’ll see a Kyoto team who wants revenge for the shameful loss last time they met. Ehime hasn’t been that bad away though, only conceding 7 goals in their first 7 games. And Kyoto have only scored more than one goal 2 times ( total of 8 in 7 games) so far at home, so it looks set for a close battle with few goals.

Win for: KYOTO

Montedio Yamagata
-
Tokushima Vortis
Montedio didn’t play last round, so their last game were against Tokyo Verdy at home. The game were pretty even, and ended 1-1. Montedio are well rested for this game, which might prove to be an advantage. Tokyo took the lead around the hour mark, but just 5 minutes later Montedo replied to level the score. All in all it was a fair result. Tokushima somewhat surprisingly beat Vegalta away, 2-1. Vegalta started the best, going up 1-0 right at the break. Tokushima levelled the score just 5 minutes into the 2nd half though, and clinched the win with a 83rd minute goal. Vegalta got 2 players sent off though, one in each half. Tokushima outshot the hosts 21-11 in an exciting game.

Montedio’s injury list got a little bigger since last round, and they are without at least 3 regular starters for this game. They have a pretty big squad though, and their replacement players aren’t that bad. In their first meeting, Montedio won 1-0 after an early goal. Montedio played smart that game, defending well and went for counter attacks. Tokushima created the most chances that game, but it was a deserved result. History matches gives us 5-2-2 for Montedio, with Montedio winning the last 5 actually. The games usually provided lots of goals for both teams. Montedio are of course big favorites here, but Tokushima are the draw-masters of J2, and with the missing Montedio players, they might manage a draw here as well. Still, I think Montedio takes their 6th straight win against Tokushima.

Win for: MONTEDIO

Sagan Tosu
-
Vegalta Sendai
Sagan upset Avispa away last round, winning 2-1 away. Avispa got off to a good start, and looked like they were to continue on their nice run. By half time Avispa were up by 1-0, and they started the 2nd half pretty good as well. However, Sagan equalized in the 60th minute, and 10 minutes later, they stunned the home crowd to go up 2-1. Avispa pushed for their 2nd goal, but the Sagan defence withstood the pressure for the rest of the game. Sagan fought hard, but must find themselves fortunate to get away with a win. Vegalta lost as well, home to Tokushima. Vegalta have been much better away than home this season, but they started well against Tokushima, going 1-0 up by half time. Most people expected them to continue in the 2nd half, but Tokushima proved to be a tougher opponent than expected. Vegalta got their topscorer Bandai sent off early in the 1st half, but even with 10 men they looked the best team, However, when MF Chiba got sent off as well midway through the 2nd half, Tokushima took more and more over. Vegalta didn’t manage to hold out for the draw, and lost 2-1 after a goal in the dying minutes. After 11 games on a row without a loss, Vegalta has now lost 3 of the 4 last games.

In the first meeting, Vegalta ran riot with Sagan, winning 5-2. In that game, Bandai, who is out for this game, scored a hat-trick. Previous meetings gives us 7-0-6. Sagan’s home form this year is 4-0-3, but on 2 occasions have they lost 0-5. Vegalta away got an impressive 5-2-1 this year. Sagan can field their best lineup here, while Vegalta are without a few important players. It’s hard to say which Sagan team that shows up here, but either way, the game promises a lot of goals. Vegalta are the highest scoring team in the league, and Sagan have the worst record. Vegalta are of course favorites, but ther recent slump in form might go against them. The teams have never drawn before, but that’s a possibility here.

Win for: VEGALTA

Shonan Bellmare
-
Consadole Sapporo
Shonan travelled to Tokyo last round, where they were unlucky to lose 1-0. Shonan created by far most chances, and outshot the hosts 17 to 8.Shonan played over half the game 11 to 10, as the Tokyo defender Fukuda got sent off in the 38th minute. The loss saw Shonan slip back into 6th place, but they are still in touching distance of the teams battling for 3rd. Consadole met Mito at home, and blew the away side with a well-deserved 3-0 win. Consadole went 1-0 up already in the 1st minute, which forced the visitors to open up and attack. This suited the very well-organized Consadole perfect, as they could lay low and go for counter attacks. 2 more goals late in game secured all 3 points for the home team.

Shonan held Consadole to a 0-0 draw in their first meeting. The scoreline reflected the game good, with neither teams looking any interested in attacking. Shonan created most chances, but all in all a fair result. Their previous meetings gives us 3-8-5 for Shonan. Shonan home got 4-1-2 this season, while Consadole away also got 4-1-2. Consadole are in great form, winning 6 of their last 7 games. They are now 5 points clear at the top. Shonan finds themselves battling for 3rd at the moment, and after a slump in their form, they now look back on track. They were unfortunate last game against Tokyo, and should have got at least a point there. It’s a very open game, with Consadole as natural favorites. The game doesn’t promises many goals, as both teams are very defensive in their style. Consadole holds the best defensive record by far as well, and Shonan actually has the 3rd best.

Win for: CONSADOLE

Tokyo Verdy 1969
-
Avispa Fukuoka

Tokyo looks to have found their form again now, getting 7 points from their last 3 games. Before that, they lost 7 games in a row. They met a good Bellmare side last round, and were somewhat fortunate to pick up a 1-0 win. Defender Kensaku Fukuda were sent off in the 38th minute, which of course affected Tokyo’s approach to the rest of the game. Bellmare looked very good, constantly creating chances. For once though, the Tokyo defence and their GK withstood the pressure to keep a clean sheet for the first time in 10 games. Tokyo’s goal came from an unlikely hold, as MF Yoshitake scored his 1st goal ever for Tokyo. Yoshitake, who came from now J1 team Yokohama FC prior to this season, hasn’t been as good as he was expected to be this year. He was an important member for Yokohama, and this goal might be a small breakthrough for the midfielder.All in all though, a win for Tokyo was an ok result. Avispa had Sagan at home, and surprisingly lost 2-1. Avispa were up by half time after defender Toru Miyamoto scored his first ever J.League goal. However, Sagan wanted it different, and with 2 goals in the middle of the 2nd half, they were suddenly the team in front. Avispa was by far the best team, and created the most chances. They didn’t manage to score any more goals though, and went on their 2nd straight home loss.

In their first meeting, Avispa won 2-1 after a last minute goal by Alex. Avispa were the better team, outshooting the visitors 14-5. That game,which actually were the first meeting between the teams ever, proved to be the start of Tokyo’s 7 lost games in a row streak. Tokyo’s home form this year is 4-0-3, while Avispa away got 4-1-1. It’s a pretty open game that promises a lot of goals, as only Vegalta have scored more goals than them this season. Both teams have scored 26 goals so far. Tokyo holds the 2nd worst defensive record though, with a total of 27 conceded goals. Avispa’s form have taken a dip lately, while Tokyo’s form is on it’s way up. It’s hard to tell which team will win this though, but I hold Tokyo as small favorites most because of their recent form. Narrow home win seems probable.

Win for: TOKYO
Thespa Kusatsu has the day off.

Friday, May 18, 2007

J2 Round 16 Previews

Cerezo Osaka
-
Ehime FC
Cerezo have dropped into 9th place now, and their hope of promotion is literally vanished. Last game they played league leaders Consadole at home, and actually outplayed them. Cerezo had 16 shots to Consadole’s 7, and should have won the game easily. However, Cerezo’s young strikers haven’t really been on fire this season, and yet again failed to find the net. However, for this game, Yasuhito Morishima is expected to return to action. Cerezo’s coach Tsunami got the axe prior to last game, and in came the brazilian Levir Culpi. A change in staff might prove Cerezo good, and it will be interesting to se what he highly-regarded brazilian can achieve in his 2nd stint as a Cerezo coach. Ehime played Shonan Bellmare at home, and were beaten 4-0 by the visitors. Shonan showed some of the brilliance that took them to 2nd earlier in the season, and really dominated the game. Shonan had 19 shots to Ehime’s 8. This was Ehime’s 7th loss in their last 8 games.

Their first meeting this season, Cerezo easily won 2-0 away. Two 2nd half goals were enough for Cerezo, who outshot them 10 to 6. That’s the only meeting between these teams in the past actually. Cerezo got 3-2-2 home this season, while Ehime away got 1-1-4. Ehime have only scored 7 goals this season, which is a record low. I find it hard to believe they will add something to that tally here against a good Cerezo defence. Cerezo have
struggled up front as well,only scoring an average of a goal pr game so far. Cerezo are still missing some important players, but the return of the younger Morishima, Yasuhito, they look a bit more intimidating up front. Cerezo must win here.

Prediction: CEREZO win

Avispa Fukuoka
-
Sagan Tosu
Last weekend Avispa played Kyoto at home, where they lost 4-2 after a hat-trick by Andrè for the the visitors. Avispa were up 2-0 by the 30th minute and looked set for taking all 3 points. However, Kyoto fought back and by half time the score was levelled again. With 2 more goals in the second half for the visitors, Avispa lost their 5th game in a row against Kyoto. Avispa had 12 shots to Kyoto’s 13. All in all Kyoto deserved the win. Sagan travelled to Tokushima last round where they picked up 1 point. Sagan took an early lead in the 7th minute, and defended well after that. Sagan looked set for taking all 3 points until the 83rd minute, when Tokushima somewhat undeservedly equalized. After that,both teams pushed for another goal, but failed to capitalise on their chances. Sagan got one player sent off 2 minutes from time as well.

Previous meetings gives us 10-1-2 for Avispa, and home, Avispa have won every meeting between them. Avispa’s home form this season is 3-2-2, but they’ve lost and drew against fairly good teams. Sagan away got 0-3-4 away so far. These games usually provides a lot of goals, and earlier this season Avispa took a whopping 5-0 win away against Sagan. Avispa are by far a much better team, and although they are without a few starters, they should have no problem winning this. Sagan still holds the worst defensive record in the league, while Avispa have the 2nd highest scoring record.Sagan haven’t been all that bad up front though, scoring 15 goals from their first 14 games.

Prediction: AVISPA win

Consadole Sapporo
-
Mito Hollyhock
Sapporo travelled to Cerezo last round, where they undeservedly won 1-0. Cerezo outshot them 16-7, and only good goalkeeping from the ever so impressive Takagi in the Sapporo goal and some poor finishing denied Cerezo the goals they should have got.This win brought Consadole back at the top of the table, 2 points clear of Montedio. Consadole have only conceded an impressive 8 goals in their first 14 games, and look rock solid at the back. They’ve kept a clean sheet for 11 of those games, which is even more impressive. However, they’ve only scored a mere 17 goals too, which is just above a goal pr game on average. Mito didn’t play last round, so they should be well rested for this game. On the other hand, Mito were on quite good form before the rest, so you can the break cam on the wrong time for them. In their last game, they played Tokushima at home, where the teams shared the spoils with a 1-1 draw. Mito were outshot 10-13, but played quite well. Their last away match however, were againat Tokyo Verdy where they produced a magnificent 5-1 win.

Mito are missing some players, especially in defence. Consadole haven’t the most intimidating offence in the league, but a second-string Mito defence faces a difficult task here. Their first encounter this season ended with a 2-0 away win Sapporo. Mito fought well, and could have picked up a point that game. Consadole’s home form is an impressive 5-2-0 this season, while Mito away got a respectable 1-3-2 away. Actually,Mito have taken 6 of their 7 points away this season. Their previous meetings gives us 6-4-7, with Consadole winning the last 3. Their meetings usually provides some goals, but neither of the teams have been any good in front of goal this season. However, Consadole will probably capitalise on all the injuries to the Mito defenders and score at least a couple of goals.

Prediction: CONSADOLE win

Thespa Kusatsu
-
Kyoto Sanga F.C.
Thespa had Vegalta at home last round, and ended up losing 3-1. Vegalta dominated the play, and outshot the home team 19-7. Vegalta scored 2 quick goals in each half, and Thespa put one back 5 minutes from time. After the goal, Thespa kept pushing for an equalizer, but from a counter-attack Vegalta scored their 3rd, to secure the win. Kyoto travelled to Avispa last round, where their striker Andrè had quite a good day at work. He netted 3 times to help Kyoto win 4-2. Kyoto went 2-0 down by 30 minutes, but levelled the score by half time. With Tokushige in midfield producing chances for the strikers, Kyoto continued their fine play, and quite deservedly took all 3 points. As usual this season, Kyoto plays good against the big or good teams, but have struggled against the minor teams. They have one of the best squads in the league, but it seems like their stars are only good at the more fashionable teams.

In their first meeting this season, the teams shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw. The game was quite one-sided though, and Kyoto should have won by several goals according to chances. In their 5 previous matches, Kyoto have won 4, and one ( the last) ended in a draw. Thespa’s home form is 2-2-3, while Kyoto has 4-1-2 away. Kyoto won big in all their previous wins against Thespa, and the single goal Thespa scored in their last draw, is the only goal they’ve ever scored on Kyoto. Kyoto currently lies in 6th place, 2 places above Thespa. Thespa are 7 points behind Kyoto though. Kyoto are desperate to close in on the teams above them, and are in need of a win here.

Prediction: KYOTO win

Tokyo Verdy 1969
-
Shonan Bellmare
Tokyo looks to have revived from their horrendous form, where they lost 7 games in a row. Their 2 last games have proved a bit more positive though. winning against Kyoto away, and drawing Montedio who lied in 1st last round. The game were pretty even, with Montedio’s 11 chances to Tokyo’s 12. Tokyo took the lead around the hour break, but minutes later Montedio had put the teams back on levelled score. Not much more happened after that, and a draw seemed to be a fair result. Shonan put on a great display last round,when they travelled to Ehime and humiliated the home team with a 4-0 win. Shonan outshot the home team 19 to 6, and fully deserved the win. After a couple of bad games, Shonan now looks to be in good form again, picking up victories in their last 2 games to take them 5th.

Tokyo’s FW Kazuki Hiramoto went on loan for the end of the season to J1 team Yokohama FC last week. He’s only been involved in 2 games this season for Verdy though, as it seems like coach Ramos doesn’t realy rate him. No doubt he’s a good player though, which the offer from a J1 club proves. Their first meeting this season ended with a whopping 3-0 win for Shonan. Shonan were the better team, but the game was a bit of a farce, with 2 players being sent off for Tokyo after some dodgy officiating. All the Shonan goals came after Tokyo were reduced to 9 men as well. Their 5 previous meetings gives us 2-0-3, and in every contest, the home team picked up the win. Tokyo’s home form this season is 3-0-3, and they’ve lost their last 3. Shonan away got 3-2-2. Both teams have scored 20 + goals so far, but the difference lies in defence, where Tokyo holds the worst record along with Sagan Tosu. The game promises a lot of goals, but who’s gonna win it is hard to predict. Both teams are missing some important players, and Shonan looks on better form among them, However, Tokyo’s form has improved as well, and with home advantage as well they might win this.

Prediction: DRAW

Vegalta Sendai
-
Tokushima Vortis
After a run of 11 unbeaten games, Vegalta suddenly lost 2 in a row before they travelled to Thespa last round. There they looked like they were back on track, totally outplaying the home side and winning 3-1. Vegalta outshot them 19-7 amd climbed back into 3rd place in the table. Tokushima had Sagan at home, and went 1-0 down after only 7 minutes of the game. They struggled to create much up front, and we had to wait as long as until the 83rd minute to see an equalizer. The game were pretty even, with Sagan a tad better than the hosts.

Their 1st meeting this season ended with a 2-2 draw. It was a prett fair result, but with Tokushima creating 14 chances to Vegalta’s 8. Vegalta went up on 2 occasions, but Tokushima swiftly replied both times. Their previous meetings gives us 4-4-1 for Vegalta.
Vegalta’s home form is 2-3-1 so far, while Tokushima away got 1-4-2. Vegalta still holds the best offensive record so far this season, with 29 goals in 14 games. Tokushima have only 12 goals so far, but they’ve been pretty decent defensively too, with only 15 goals conceded in 14 games. Tokushima are the team with most drawn matches (7), and that’s a result we might see here as well. However, Vegalta will probably take all 3 points, and close further in on the top 2.

Prediction: VEGALTA win

Friday, May 11, 2007

J2 Round 15 Previews

Cerezo Osaka
-
Consadole Sapporo
Cerezo, not Tokyo as one would expect, proved to be the 1st team to fire their coach. After the loss at Sagan, coach Tsunami and 2 of his assistants were sacked, and in came the brazilian Levir Culpi. This will be Culpi’s 2nd stint at Cerezo, the first one back in 1997. He has won a fair share of trophies in Brazil with different teams, but he’s yet to prove himself in J.League. Tsunami were under pressure all season, especially after Cerezo’s poor start. Therefore, it didn’t come as a shock that Cerezo had a replacement coach ready immediately to take over for the departed one. It will be interesting to see if Culpi can turn things around, but to be honest, Tsunami didn’t do a bad job when you consider the players he had at his disposal. The decisive loss came against Sagan, in an evenly played match. Cerezo outshot them 15-13, but failed to put the ball in the net. The Cerezo players looked kinda disspirited in this game, as they somehow knew that Tsunami was to be fired. Anyway, the played good enough to at least get a point. Sagan’s goal didn’t come before the 88th minute. Consadole had Vegalta at home in their last match, and it was fully deserved that they won 1-0. Vegalta didn’t create much against the very impressive Consadole defence, and as usual, Consadole maintained the lead to the end. Consadole’s goal came after a blunder by the Vegalta GK Schneider, which led to Soda scoring his 3rd goal of the season. Vegalta had some dangerous chances as well, and could have scored 1 or 2 goals. All in all though, it was a deserved win.

Consadole won the first match this season 1-0 after a 2nd half goal. It was a well-deserved victory, as Cerezo struggled to create much dangerous up front. That’s the only time these teams have met in the past. Consadole have kept a clean sheet 6 out of 7 home gamese this season, and their home form is 5-2-0. Cerezo away got lowly 1-1-5 this season, and have struggled alot on the road. Consadole are naturally major favorites here, but one should never underestimate the affect a change of coach can have on the team. The Cerezo players might get a boost from everything, but it’s more unlikely than likely to happen.

Win for:

-
Shonan Bellmare
Ehime lost 0-1 home against in-form Montedio last round to record their 3rd straight 0-1 loss. Montedio had 14 shots to Ehime’s 7 and were for most part of the game the better team. The first half were pretty even though, and Montedio’s goal came just before the break, which probably upset the home team. Shonan played Thespa at home, in an exciting battle that eventually saw Shonan take all 3 points after a 83rd minute goal. Shonan were in the lead twice, but Thespa quickly levelled the score on both occasions. Shonan had10 shots to Thespa’s 4, so all in all it was deserved. The win put Shonan back in 5th, only 3 points clear of Avispa in 3rd.

In their 1st encounter of the season, the team drew 0-0 in a game that provided lots of chances. The teams have met 5 times, which gives us 2-1-2. Shonan won both the previous away matches though. Ehime’s home form this season is 1-1-5, while Shonan away got 2-2-2. Ehime are by far the least-scoring team in the league, and have been poor for most of the season. They only have Mito behind them now, but Mito’s form have gradually become better lately, so in a few rounds they might find themselves at the bottom of the league.Shonan lost big to Montedio at home 0-4 a couple of rounds ago, but out of their last 7 matches, they’ve won 6. Shonan are one of the surprise teams this season, and it will be interesting to see how long they will last. Since Jean got injured, they’ve been struggling at the back, conceding 8 goals in the last 3 matches. However, I doubt Ehime are capable of scoring so many at them. Shonan are a better team than Ehime, and they are in a better form as well as having won all previous matches at Ehime.

Win for:


Tokushima Vortis
-
Sagan Tosu
Tokushima travelled to Mito last round, and picked up a point in a tight and rain-filled game. Tokushima had 13 shots to Mito’s 10, and might should have deserved all points. This was Tokushima’s 6th draw of the season, which is the highest in the league. Sagan played Cerezo at home, and were maybe a bit lucky to take all 3 points. Cerezo outshot them 15 to 12, and both teams should at least have scored a few more goals each according to chances. Sagan’s goal didn’t came before the 88th minute, which saw them climb above Tokushima in the table.

Sagan won the 1st meeting this season 1-0, after completely dominating the game, producing 16 shots to Tokushima’s 1. All previous meetings gives us 1-4-4, with Sagan winning the last 4. Tokushima’s home form is 1-2-3 this season, while Sagan got 0-2-4 away. Sagan have taken most of their points home this season, but have a good chance of doing something about that here. Tokushima are missing several important players, while Sagan can field their best lineup. Sagan have been very inconsistent this season, losing big at several occasions.Up till now, they have the worst defensive record in the league. There were high expectations of them prior to this season, but they haven’t really lived up to them yet. There’s little doubt the team is talented though, and normally they should beat the home side here. .

Win for:


Avispa Fukuoka
-
Kyoto Sanga F.C.
Avispa looks very good now, picking up 4 wins and being undefeated for 6 games.They didn’t play last round though, so they should be fit and ready for this game. Their last was home against Shonan, which they won 2-0. The game proved to be tighter than first predicted though, and Avispa had to struggle for the win. Kyoto became the team that
Tokyo Verdy ended their horrible 7-game losing streak against, winning 4-1 away. Kyoto wasn’t bad, and they produced a total of 13 shots to Tokyo’s 15. However, the difference proved to be maybe the best striker in J2, Hulk. He scored a nice hat-trick and were a constant threat for the Kyoto defence. Kyoto dropped down to 6th with this, and the pressure is mounting on their coach Minobe.
Kyoto won the first game 2-1 fully deserved, after a late minute goal by the impressive striker Andre. Both teams were relegated from J1 last season, and their previous meetings gives us 2-2-7. Kyoto won the last 4 encounters. The games ususally provides lots of goals, and only on 2 occasions out of 11, has there been scored less than 3 goals. Avispa’s home form is 3-2-1 this season,while Kyoto away got 3-1-2. Avispa’s form is way better than Kyoto’s, who varies alot in their performances. For this game, the highly-rated AM Kuranuki is expected to start for the first time for the visitors. GK Ueno is out, but Hirai is not a bad replacement, Hirai was Kyoto’s first choice the last couple of seasons, but lost his place to Ueno prior to this season. Avispa looks stronger, and a home win seems most likely. Avispa haven’t scored that many goals at home this season, but have an impressive offensive line-up, so it’s probably just a matter of time before they start scoring at home as well.Last season’s encounter ended with a 5-4 win to the visitors, but I’ll doubt we’ll see anything like that here.

Win for:


Montedio Yamagata
-
Tokyo Verdy 1969
Montedio currently lies in 1st place together with Consadole on 27 points. Montedio have had a great start, and fe would have predicted them to be this high after ¼ of the games had been played. However, they just keep impressing, and haven’t lost in 8 games, winning 7 of them.Last round they met Ehime away, and picked up yet another well-deserved victory. They had 14 shots to Ehime’s 7, and scored right at the break to produce a 1-0 win. Tokyo ended their dreadful 7-lost-games-in-a-row streak when they travelled to Kyoto last round. The game was even, but Tokyo FW Hulk made the difference with an impressive hat-trick. Hulk was very impressive in the beginning of the season, but one of the reasons Tokyo lost all their games was that Hulk stopped to deliver. Coach Rui Ramos is still at the helmet, but he’s still destined to get the axe soon.

Montedio are without 5 regular starters, and might suffer from that. Prior to last round’s game at Kyoto, Tokyo’s last win came against Montedio actually, in round 6. That game saw few chances created by both teams, and a 5th minute goal by Hulk proved to be enough for Tokyo. The teams have met 5 times before, with Tokyo winning 4 and Montedio 1. Montedio at home this season got 3-2-1, while Tokyo away got 2-1-4. What’s different from their 1st meeting this season is that now it’s Montedio that’s in good form,not Tokyo. However, Tokyo are fully capable of winning this game as well, especially when u see all the absent players at Montedio. Montedio are still favorites though.

Win for:


Thespa Kusatsu
-
Vegalta Sendai
Thespa travelled to Shonan last round, where they lost 3-2. Thespa came under 2 times early in the match, but equalized on both occasions. However, midway through the 2nd half, Thespa got one player sent off and when Shonan then got back in the lead 5 minutes from full-time, Thespa failed to reply. IT was a deserved Shonan victory, as they outshot Thespa 10-4. After 11 unbeaten games, Vegalta now have lost 2 in a row. They’ve met good teams though, in Kyoto and Consadole. Last round they travelled to Sapporo and deservedly lost 1-0. Consadole scored an early goal, and spent the rest of the game defending the lead in real Consadole-style. Vegalta got to some big chances though, and looked dangerous from set-pieces. But Consadole withstood the pressure, and climbed back into 2nd place.

Thespa got 3 defenders out due to suspension, including both their centrebacks, while Vegalta are without the very influential attacking midfielder Lopes. Vegalta are the highest scoring team in the league, and will prove to be a tough a battle for the second-string Thespa defence. In their 1st meeting this season Thespa actually held Vegalta to a 1-1 draw away. Vegalta dominated the play though, and should have won the game by several goals. All their previous meetings gives us 0-2-7. At Thespa though, there are usually few goals scored, and not on one occasion has there been scored more than 2 goals. Thespa at home this season got 3-1-2, while Vegalta away got 4-2-1. In the 4 previous meetings at Thespa, Vegalta won 2-0 3 times.
Win for:

Monday, May 7, 2007

Tsunami FIRED

OUT :



IN:




Newsflash:

Satoshi Tsunami was today releases from his duties, and Levir Culpi steps in to succeed him...what will this mean to Cerezo and the rest of the season?

more to follow....

Saturday, May 5, 2007

J League 2 Round 14 - Previews


Sagan travelled to Montedio last round, where they lost 2-1. Sagan took an early lead, and outshot the opponents 10-7. However, 2 late goals by the home side made Sagan lose their 7th game of the season. Cerezo hosted Tokushima Vortis and battled it tout for a 1-1 win. A quick goal after the break by Furuhashi saw Cerezo take the lead, but just 10 minutes later Tokushima equalized. The game provided few chances for both teams, which usually has been the case with Cerezo this season. Cerezo’s had a pretty neutral approach to most of their games, and with their best offensive players out due to either injury or suspensions for most parts of the season, alot of responsibility were laid on the youngsters shoulders. They’ve done a a really good job so far, but one can’t expect them too be as good as the regular starting members yet
The teams have only met once before which was earlier this season, when Cerezo won 3-0 at home in a game they dominated. Sagan’s home form is 4-0-4, and they’ve won 3 of the last 4 home matches. However, 2 times this season Sagan have lost 5-0 at home. Cerezo away has 1-2-5, and this season they have 1-1-4. Cerezo usually don’t concede too many goals away, and all their losses was by a single goal. Which Sagan team to show up here is hard to say, but their somewhat reckless tactic might be positive for Cerezo. Cerezo are quite solid at the back, and if Sagan goes all-out-attack as they often do, Cerezo’s more neutral strategy might produce some counter-attacking chances for the away side, and possibly a few goals as well. The game will probably end with a draw or a narrow away win. I see a few goals coming both ways, but with Cerezo as small favorites.
Win for:

Consadole Sapporo
-
Vegalta Sendai
Both Consadole and Vegalta finally lost on thursday. Consadole took an early lead at Thespa, but after 2 quick goals from the Thespa forward Ujihara, Thespa gained control of the game. The Consadole players look tired all over, and struggled to cope with the hard-fighting Thespa players. Thespa had 10 shots to Consadole’s 8, and all in all it was a deserved victory. Vegalta also lost when they hosted Kyoto Purple Sanga. The game was evenly played, and the only goal of the game came after some nice combination play from Kyoto’s Tokushige and Paulinho, with the latter one scoring his 6th goal of the season. Vegalta looked pretty strong in midfield as usual, but their strikers failed to put the ball in the net. The gamed ended with 13 shots each for the teams.
Their 10 previous meetings gives us 3-5-2 home and away. Vegalta hasn’t beaten Consadole for 8 games though. Both teams are in good form. Consadole’s home record is 5-2-1, with 4-2-0 this season. Vegalta away has 4-3-1, while this season’s record is 4-2-0. Consadole ended thier unbeaten streak of 10 games last round, while Vegalta lost their 1st game of the season. Both teams have looked very good this season, and while Consadole have impressied in defence, with only 8 conceded goals in 12 games, it has been the other way with Vegalta, who have scored a J2 high of 26 goals so far in their 12 first games. In other words, the best attack meets the best defence here. Vegalta have struggled in their recent matches against Consadole, and faces a difficult task here as well. However, they are fully capable of upsetting the home team here, and their star-studded midfield might prove to be too much for the more young and talented one at Consadole. I rate Vegalta a little higher than Consadole, but historically Consadole plays well against the visitors.
Win for:

Ehime FC
-
Montedio Yamagata
Ehime didn’t play on thursday, and in their last match they travelled to Sapporo, where they lost 1-0 to the home side. However, Ehime proved to be a much stronger opponent that one should think, and they produced as many as 12 chances to Consadole’s 13. A nice goal in the middle of the second half by Consadole secured the home win though. Ehime finds themselves now 2nd to last, and have struggled for most parts of the season. Montedio continued their awesome run when they had Sagan Tosu home. Montedio won the game 2-1 after coming from behind and scoring 2 goals within the last 10 minutes of the game. Sagan scored midway through the 1st half, and actully produced more chances than the home team with 10 to Montedio’s 7. However, Montedio proved why they now are joint league leaders with 2 other teams when the game was entering the closing stages. 2 back-to-back goals from Yokoyama and the impressive Toyoda proved to be too much for the Sagan side. This was Montedio’s 6th win in their latest 7 games.

Their 5 previous meetings gives us 0-2-3. In their first encounter this season Montedio picked up a 3-1 win at home in a game they dominated from the beginning to the end.
Ehime’s home form is 1-2-5, and this season they have 1-1-4. Their only win came when they quite surprisingly beat Kyoto 3-0 a few weeks ago. Montedio away has an impressive 5-2-1. They won all their 3 previous away matches too. Montedio have scored at least 2 goals every time they met Ehime, and these games usually provide some goals. Montedio win for sure.
Win for:


Kyoto Sanga F.C.
-
Tokyo Verdy 1969
Kyoto ended Vegalta’s unbeaten run this season when they beat them 1-0 away. Kyoto holds the record for most games unbeaten in the J2 history ( 12 games), and prohibited Vegalta who was on a 11 games unbeaten streak of equalling that record. The game was quite even for most parts of the game, and the only goal came in the 25th minute by Kyoto’s impressive brazilian forward Paulinho. Paulinho now finds himselves in 3rd place on the top goalscorer’s list, and he has been J2’s most trigger-happy player with 49 shots unleashed in 12 games. Against a poor Verdy defence he will probably add some shots to that tally, and probably score a goal or 2 as well. Tokyo once again lost when they met Ehime home, which was yet to produce a win this season. Ehime fired on all sylinders and literally crushed the miserable-looking home side by 5-1. It was Mito’s 3rd win in Tokyo, on 3 visits. Actually, Tokyo scored the 1st goal after only 9 minutes, but by tthe 30 minute mark, Mito was in the lead. The second half proved to be even worse for the struggling Tokyo side, and Mito didn’t stop before they had scored 3 more goals on the unstable Verdy goalkeeper. Mito had 15 shots to Verdy’s 8. This was Verdy’s 7th loss in a row, and after this game the Verdy board went out saying that coach Rui Ramos is no longer wanted. He will lead the team for the Kyoto game too, but if Tokyo loses here, he’s definitely out.

The teams have only met 3 teams before, with Tokyo winning 2, and Kyoto winning the last one. Kyoto fully deserbed won 3-1 away to them earlier this season. Their last meetings dates back to 2003, where Tokyo won both matches by 3 goals.
Kyoto’s home form is 2-4-2, and this season they’ve managed 2-4-0. Although they are unbeaten at home this season, they have failed to win on paper easy matches against relatively poor opposition.Kyoto usually dominated the play in the drawn matches, but their problem has been putting all those missed chances. Tokyo have lost their 4 last away matches, and their full record is 1-2-5. This match promises alot of goals, and a home win by a couple of goals seems very likely. Kyoto are without WC 2002 Captain for Japan Morioka though in defence, and Tokyo are missing Nanami, which was also a member of the Japan NT squad for WC 2002.
Win for:

Mito Hollyhock
-
Tokushima Vortis

Mito looked great when they travelled to Tokyo last round, where they humiliated the home team by whopping 5-1 victory. Mito went behind early, but 2 quick goals put them in the lead by 1/3 of the game. The Mito players showed great stamina, and both outrun and outplayed the lavishing Tokyo players. Their 2nd half was even more impressive than the first, where they put 3 goals behind the Verdy goalkeeper. Earlier this season, Mito’s problem has been that they’ve only played 1 good half, while being extremely poor the other one. Against Tokyo that problem seemed solved. Tokushima travelled to Osaka, where they drew Cerezo 1-1. Tokushima looked sharp, and outshout the home team 9 to 5. Just after the break Cerezo took the lead though, but Tokushima replied in the 60th minute to even things out. All in all it was a fair result.

Their previous meetings gives us 5-2-1 for Mito, and Tokushima’s only win came 8 matches ago. Mito’s horm is a stuttering 0-1-7 though, and they’ve lost all their 6 home matches this season, scoring only 2 goals. Tokushima has 1-4-3 away, and their away matches usually provieds few goals. In their 8 last they’ve scored only 6, and conceded 7. Mito are probably on a high after their great win last round, and is looking to end their bad home form as well here. They are fully capable of it, and they usually do well against Tokushima.
Win for :

Shonan Bellmare
-
Thespa Kusatsu
After winning 4 games in a row, Shonan hit ground with 2 consecutive defeats against Montedio and Avispa the last 2 rounds. Against Avispa, Shonan wasn’t too bad though, producing 10 chances to Avispa’s 8. The ever so impressive striker Lincoln scored 2 fine goals for Avispa though, one in each half, to take Avispa 1st place. Shonan finds themselves now 6 points clear of the top 3, and needs a win here to catch-up. Thespa also knocked up a win last round, when they upset the visiting Consadole side with a well-deserved 2-1 win. The Thespa players played with their heart outside the shirt this game, and the hard-fought win boosted the teams morale. Thespa outshot the visitors 10 to 8, and now find themselves mid-table, in-front of powerhouses like Cerezo Osaka and Tokyo Verdy.

Thespa have been extremely fortunate with injuries this season, having all their players available for most of the games. The teams have met 9 times before, giving us 3-3-2 home and away. Shonan’s home form is 3-1-4, and this season they’ve managed 3-1-2. Shonan have only scored a goal pr home game though. Thespa away has 2-3-3 on last 8, and this season they have 2-2-2. Thespa also have only a goal pr game away. Earlier this season Thespa won 2-0 at home against Bellmare,in a hard fought and evenly played match. 2 rounds ago, Shonan would have been big favorites here, but with their decreasing form, and the rise of Thespa’s, it’s pretty open. Neither of the teams usually score much goals, and they are relatively tight at the back as well. Shonan usually does well against ”poorer” teams though, and are good at leading the play. That’s a probable scenario here as well, with Thespa going for counter-attacks.
Win for:

Cerezo Osaka - Tokushima Vortis 1-1

Cerezo and Tokushima battled it out on Thursday in yet another intense game that created few chances.
In the first half, both teams were catious in their build-up and more afraid of letting the opposing team create something than doing it themselves. However, after the break the match seemed totally different, and it only took Tatsuya Furuhashi 5 minutes to put Cerezo in the lead.
However, Tokushima replied only 10 minutes later through Kleberson. I am yet to see any goals or highlights from the game, but will post it up if I come over it.
Total Shots: Cerezo 5 - Tokushima 9
Attendance: 6,611
Cerezo line up:
GK: Yoshida
DF: Haneda - Sakata - Maeda - Fujimoto ( Niwa 45)
MF: Nakayama (Kagawa 64) - Sakemoto - Miyamoto - Hamada (Kim 77)
FW: Furuhashi - Kakitani

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

J League 2 Round 13 - Previews

Cerezo Osaka
-
Tokushima Vortis
Cerezo picked up their 4th win of the season last round, when they hosted Thespa in a somewhat boring match. Cerezo got off to a good start, and in the 13th minute, their 17 year old striker Kakitani bagged his first ever goal in the J.League. Cerezo were clearly the better team for most part of the game, but as both teams failed to get to any scoring chances, that one goal proved to be enough for the home team. Only 8 shots, 4 each, were taken in this game. Tokushima played Avispa at home , and just lost out 1-0 after a late goal by Avispa. The game produced a fair amount of chances, with 12 shots each. Avispa’s chances were a bit more dangerous then, and their superior strikers proved to be the difference. This was a small letdown after their impressive 3-0 away win at Tokyo the round before.

The teams have never met before, and Cerezo’s home form is 3-2-3. In J2 however, they’ve managed 3-1-1 in 5 games. Tokushima away has 1-4-3, and their only win came in their last away match at Tokyo. Both teams have many vital members out due to injury, but it will be harder for Tokushima than for Cerezo, as Cerezo has a much bigger squad. Cerezo climbed to 7th with their win last round, and if they can win here as well, they will not the far behind the teams currently fighting for promotion. Cerezo hasn’t really impressed offensively in any of their games this season, but without 4 of their regular attacking players, any team would have struggled. Tokushima has much of the same problem, as they’ve scored few goals this season. On the defensive part though, they’ve been quite impressive with 12 conceded goals in 11 matches. I don’t see them winning this game, but they could manage a draw. However, all hopes are up for yet another Cerezo win!


Win for:



Avispa Fukuoka
-
Shonan Bellmare
Avispa looks very strong at the moment, and stretched their unbeaten run to 6 games after a 1-0 win at Tokushima. Their goal didn’t come before in the 86th minute though, and it was an evenly played match with 12 chances to each team. But all in all, it was a deserved win.
Prior to last round, Shonan had the same amount of points as Avispa, and were on a nice 4 win in a row streak. However, they lost big against a very impressive Montedio side, 4-0 at home. Montedio outplayed Bellmare in every single way, and had 19 shots to Bellmare’s 5. This results might suggest that Bellmare have been ”over-performing”, and that is simply was reality that struck them.

In their previous 10 meetings, Avispa holds a very impressing 9-1-0 over Shonan, both home and away. Avispa’s home form is a mere 2-5-1, while this season in J2, they’e produced 2-2-1 in 5 games. Shonan away has 2-2-3, and their 2 victories came in their 2 latest matches. Avispa is by far a better away team than home this season, as they seem to have a problem scoring goals at home. Still, they rarely lose. Shonan are still without their best defender Jean, and will suffer under his loss ( as they clearly did against Montedio).Prior to the game against at Montedio last round, Shonan had the best defensive record in the league, and will probably go out in a very defensive formation here, and aim for a scoreless draw. They meet a tough team in Avispa though, so it will be vital for Shonan to keep the defence together even without Jean. If they manage that, they might get something here. But Avispa are clear favorites here, and I believe all points will stay in Fukuoka. The question is whether how big the victory will be. Historically, Avispa usually won by 1 or 2 goals in low-scoring contests, and they doesn’t look too sharp at home this season either. And Bellmare with their good defence will prove to be tough. IT all comes down to if the visitors can manage without Jean.
Win for:


Montedio Yamagata
-
Sagan Tosu
Montedio are the number 1 surprise package of the season, as they currently lies in joint 3rd place, only 3 points clear of the top. Last round they literally thrashed Shonan away, who up till that point, had been just as impressive. Montedio dominated the play in every single way. producing 19 shots to Bellmare’s 5, and wining the game 4-0. Montedio doesn’t really have any goalgetter type of strikers in their team, and their goals have come from several players this season. Ther most impressive player so far though, have to be Kitamura, who they got from Yokohama FC which won promotion last year. He was an important member there, starting most of their matches, and he has proved to be even more important for Montedio.Also, former Yokohama F Marinos member Shogo Kobara have proved to be very good in defence. Sagan hosted Tokyo Verdy, and won 2-1 in a close match. Sagan had 12 shots, while Tokyo produced 13. Both Sagan goals came after some sloppy defending by the Tokyo defenders, and all in all it was a deserved win.This was Sagan’s 3rd win of the season, and they climbed out of the bottom group.

Montedio lost a few players to injury after last round, and they will surely miss especially Kitamura. The previous 10 meetings gives us 6-1-3 for Montedio. Montedio’ home form is 5-2-1, however this season they’ve only managed 2-2-1. Sagan away has 2-2-4 on last 8, while in 2007 they’ve produced only 0-2-3. With 6 players out, Montedio clearly suffers. However, they’ve struggled with injuries for most parts of the season, and managed well so far without the absent players. Sagan had a positive result last round, but so far this year, their season have been abysmal. Sagan still holds the worst defensive record in the league, while Montedio has the 2nd best. Montedio, in their current state of form, looks set to take all 3 points here as well.

Win for:

-
Consadole Sapporo
Thespa travelled to Osaka last round, and lost out 1-0 in a dull contender. Both teams failed to create many chances, and an early goal by Cerezo proved to be enough for them. with 4 shots each, the game proved to be evenly played, but according to Cerezo’s chances and play, it was a deserved victory. Consadole continued thir great run when they had Ehime home. With a 1-0 win, they stretched their unbeaten run to an impressive 11 games. Ehime proved to be a tougher opponent than first predicted however, and they created as many as 12 goal-scoring opportunities to Consadole’s 13. Consadole’s goal came midway trough the second half, as the young striker Ishii scored his first goal of the season. Consadole still finds themselves in 1st place, with Vegalta breathing down their neck, only 1 point behind.

On their 8 previous meetings, Consadole has an impressive 6-2-0 record. Thespa’s home form is 1-5-4 in their last 10, and this season they have 1-2-2. Consadole away has 6-1-1 on their last 8, and so far 3-1-1 this season. Neither teams have scored that many goals this season, and Consadole’s high position are more the benefits of their ultra-tight defence. Consadole are here big favorites, but once again, I doubt it will be a high scoring game. Consadole have only conceded goals in 3 games this season, and I don’t see how Thespa can add to that. However, I don’t see Consadole score many goals either, so a low-scoring away win seems very likely.

Win for:


Tokyo Verdy 1969
-
Mito Hollyhock
Tokyo’s horrible form continued when they travelled to Sagan last round. In a tight game where both teams created lots of chances, Tokyo lost 2-1 after some defensive errors. This stretched Tokyo’s losing streak to 6 games, and find themselves now battling it out with the bottom-places teams. They find their counterpart in Mito, who once again lost when they travelled to Sendai last round. They played a very good 1st half, but Vegalta proved to be too good for them and scored 2 late goals to clinch the win. Alot of Vegalta fans gave credit to Mito, and found it very surprising that such a hard-fighting team cold find themselves at the very bottom of the league. Sendai had 18 shots to Mito’s 9.
Their previous meetings gives us 2-0-2, and actually Mito won both the away matches at Tokyo last season, 1-0 and 4-1. Tokyo’s home form is 4-1-3, while this season they’ve managed 3-0-2, losing their last 2. Mito away has 2-3-3 on last 8, and this season 0-3-2 so far. Both teams are in horrible form, with Tokyo just a bit worser than the visitors. Tokyo are without J2 top-scorer Hulk, and also Diego is out due to suspension. This will force their coach Rui Ramos to make some changes to his team, which might prove to be a good thing. Ramos has been under pressure for some while now, and according to several japanese newspapers he will be fired if his team loses this one. However, Mito have been much better away than home this season, picking up all their 3 points away. And, last year Mito won both meetings in Tokyo. Mito have only scored 3 goals this season, and all of them at home. Both teams have conceded about 20 goals each, and seems to have some problems at the back. It might be a long shot, but Mito has to win their first game soon, and with their history in Tokyo, and the home side’s horrendous form, this might be their best chance to do that for a while.
Win for:

Vegalta Sendai
-
Kyoto Sanga F.C.
Vegalta picked up yet another win when they played Mito home last round. However, they had to struggle for the victory, and didn’t score until the 73th minute. The game ended with a 2-0 win, and 18-9 in chances for Vegalta. This prolonged Vegalta’s unbeaten run to 14 games ( 11 this season), and they look invincible. Kyoto had the weekend off, and their last game was a 1-1 draw home against Sagan. Kyoto outshot Sagan 17 to 8, and should have won the game easily. However, a defensive error early in the game saw Sagan take the lead. Kyoto replied some mintes after, and chased the 2nd goal for the rest of the game. Kyoto’s poor finishing skills however saw the game end in a draw. Kyoto should have had a penalty as well, but somehow the referee didn’t blow his whistle.

Their previous meetings gives us 4-0-6 both home and away. Vegalta’s home form is 4-4-0, with 2-3-0 this season. Kyoto away has 2-2-4, while this season 2-1-2. Kyoto have been very good against the ”top” teams this season, picking up 9 points against Tokyo, Consadole and Avispa. However, in their 3 last games against small teams, they’ve only managed 2 points out of 9. Vegalta is by far the highest scoring team in the league, and will probably score a few goals here as well. Kyoto is not a bad team however, and have proved to be good against the best teams earlier this season. I doubt Vegalta will lose, but they will struggle for a win against a good Kyoto side. Vegalta have drawn 3 out of 5 home matches this season, and that might happen here as well.

Win for: