Saturday, June 30, 2007

J.League round 25 Preview



Vegalta Sendai
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Cerezo Osaka
Vegalta travelled to Mito on wednesday, and won 3-1. Vegalta scored 2 nice goals withing the first 20 minutes, and never looked like losing it from then. Mito replied 5 minutes later though, but never really looked like scoring the 2nd one. Mito wasn’t all bad and matched Vegalta’s pace for most parts of the game. The Vegalta strikeforce and the Mito strikeforce is quite different however, as the Mito strikers needs more chances to score goals than their counterpart. Vegalta looked alot deadlier up front than in recent matches as well, and fully deserved the win. Vegalta had 14 shots to Mito’s 10. Cereszo had Tokyo at home, and lost 0-2 after conceding an early goal from Hulk. Cerezo weren’t any worser than Tokyo this game, but their missing players, especially up front, were surely missed. It didn’t get any better in the 2nd half, as an own goal by a Cerezo defender extended Tokyo’s lead. Cerezo weren’t all bad this game though, and had 10 shots to Tokyo’s 9. After 4 nice wins in a row for Cerezo they now fell down to 8th again in the table.
Both teams will field similiar squads to wednesday’s games. Cerezo are still missing most of their offensive contributors, so it’s set for Furuhashi/Kim oncr again up front. Vegalta are having problems on the other side of the pitch, with GK Schneider as well as important defender Shirai out. Vegalta won the first match 2-0 away after scoring a quick goal in each half. The game was pretty one sided though, with Cerezo as the leading team. Vegalta were in killer form earlier in the season, which made them win games they were outplayed in as well. Cerezo had 14 shots to Vegalta’s 7 , and probably deserved more. Vegalta hold their guard though, so it’s hard to say they didn’t deserved the win either. All meetings gives us 2-0-1 for Cerezo, as Cerezo won both matches back in 2003. Vegalta got 4 home wins in a row now, and 6-3-2 in total. Cerezo got 4-1-5 away, and 3 wins in a row. I think we’re in for a tight game, as both teams are in good form. Vegalta are small favorites due to home advantage, but Cerezo has been playing good away lately. I think we might see a draw here, with Vegalta as the most likely winners. Goal-wise, I think we’ll see many ( Vegalta being the highest scoring team in the league, and Cerezo’s fine form).
Prediction: DRAW
Avispa Fukuoka
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Mito Hollyhock
Avispa travelled to Ehime last round, and were without a few important players, especially in offence. The game ended 0-0, with Avispa being the slightly better team and which probably deserved the win. The finishing let them down though, and although they had 14 shots ( to Ehime’s 9), they failed to score any goals. A disappoint result for Avispa, who were looking for another win to raise their chances for promotion. Mito had Vegalta at home, and lost 1-3 after 2 quick goals from Vegalta that Mito never managed to bounce back from. Vegalta were up 2-0 after 20 minutes, but Mito reduced only 5 minutes after. Mito continued to create chances, and played fairly well, but yet again, they were left with nothing despite a good effort. Vegalta scored a 3rd late in 2nd half to secure the win. Vegalta outshot Mito 14-10.

Avispa won the first meeting 4-1 away, after being 3-0 up by halftime. Mito never really stood a chance, as Avispa constantly put them under pressure and looked dangerous all through the match. The 2nd half didn’t start much better, as Avispa scored their 4th goal minutes after the break. Mito got their consolation, as welll as a player sent off later in the match. Mito had 8 shots to Avispa’s 14. Historically, Avispa got a great record against Mito, with 9-3-1. Mito’s only victory came in 2003, in their first ever meeting. Avispa at home this season got 5-2-4 while Mto away got 2-3-6. Mito are in fact a much better side away than home this season, so Avispa can expect a tough battle here. Avispa meets 2 bottom teams in a row here, and should on paper win them both. They failed against Ehime, so nothing but a win is good enough here. Mito have played good football lately though, and their results have improved as well. They have every chance of upsetting Avispa here. Avispa gets their top goalscorer Lincoln back from suspension, who probably was what they were missing in the 0-0 draw at Ehime. It is due for a high-scoring game, with Avispa as natural favorites.I think they will live up to their favourite tag, and bring in 3 points here. Mito are not as bad as their league position suggests though, and can upset the home team.
Prediction : Win for AVISPA
Montedio Yamagata
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Shonan Bellmare
Montedio played vs Sagan away midweek, where they were unfortunate to lose 2-1. The first half was pretty boring, with not much happening in front of either goals. Montedio took the lead early in the 2nd half, and looked like they were in control of the game.But some 10 minutes from full time, Sagan equalized, and in the 85th minute they scored again to claim the win. Montedio were the better team here, but Sagan converted their chances when they had to, which proved to be enough. Sagan had 6 shots to Montedio’s 11.
Shonan lost to 2-4 at home to a Kyoto side on fire lately. It was an evenly played match from the beginning to end, but Kyoto’s superior finishing skills tipped the game into their favour. Kyoto took an early lead, only to see Shonan equalize. But although Shonan played quite good, and might have deserved more, they never looked like getting anything from this. Kyoto seemed to do what they needed to when they needed it, and especially Paulinho, who’s now the top goalscorer in J2 with 2 goals here, were a constant threat. Shonan actually outshot Kyoto 10-9 this game.

Montedio won the first meeting 4-0 away, after totally outclassing Shonan in every way. Both teams were in great form at that time, fighting for 1st place. The loss for Shonan were followed by a poor run, and they’ve only recently found back to the the fomr that took them there. Montedio on the other hand, have been really bad lately, dropping out of the promotion race all the way down into 9th. The game itself were dominated by Montedio, who outshot the home team 19-5. Hitstorywise, Shonan holds the edge with 7-5-5 in total.
Montedio’s home form is not good, and they have only managed 3 points ( all from draws) from their last 5. They have now played 9 games in a row without winning. All home matches gives them a record of only 3-5-3. Shonan away got 5-2-4, which is pretty decent. You never really know what you get with Shonan, as they can vary from world-class to amateur from one game to another. Here they meet a Montedio squad who are in hopeless form, and with 3 important defenders out as well. Shonan sure got something to revenge from the 1st game, and they also got to keep up with Kyoto who lies in 3rd. Therefore, an away win seems most probable. I think we’ll see alot of goals as well, with all the injured defenders and the goalrecord of previous meetings.
Prediction: Win for SHONAN
Thespa Kusatsu
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Ehime FC
Thespa played great last round to held league leaders Consadole to 2-2 away. Consadole went one goal up early in both half’s, only to see Thesa equalize at the end of it. The game itself was pretty even as well, with Consadole producing 11 shots to Thespa’s 9. So, the result was more or less fair. A great boost for Thespa, who now have 6 games in a row without a win. Ehime did a nice job too against Avispa at home. The game ended 0-0, and although Ehime fought hard for the point, I guess they got more than they deserved. Avispa were the superior team for most of the game, but since both teams failed to score it ended 0-0. Ehime managed 9 shots to Avispa’s 14.
Thespa won the first game relatively easy 1-0 away. Defender Chika scored the only goal of the match just before the break. Ehime produced only a handful of real chances, and again showed why they are the least-scoring team in the league. Ehime had 6 shots in total to Thespa’s 10. A deserved away victory. All previous meetings gives us 2-1-2. Thespa at home this season got 3-3-5, while Ehime away got 3-1-7. Neither of teams are in any particularly good form, but Thespa are clear favorites anyway. With one exception, these games usually provides few goals and cautious build-up from both teams. Thespa are ”lost” together with the rest of the bottom-runners now, and if Ehime wins here they are only one point behind Thespa. Therefore, it’s important with a win for the home team here, to keep Ehime and Tokushima at bay. I think Thespa have what it takes to win this too, as they played great at Consadole. I don’t see many goals though as neither of the teams are known for scoring.
Prediction: Win for THESPA
Tokushima Vortis
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Kyoto Sanga F.C.
Tokushima didn’t play midweek, so their last game was against Shonan at home. Tokushima lost 2-0 eventually, after a goal in each half. Tokushima didn’t have much to come up with after the goals, and eventually deserved to lose. Shonan outshot Tokushima 14-8, and played a very good game. That was the 10th home in a row without a win for Tokushima, who so far this season only have recorded 1 win, which came in the season opener.
Kyoto played Shonan away, and beautifully beat them 4-2. The game itself was tight, and could have tipped Shonan’s way just as much as Kyoto’s. In-form striker Paulinho played another good game though, and helped Kyoto win with 2 nice goals. Kyoto’s win were never really under any major threat, and they looked destined for the win all through the game. Shonan outshot Kyoto 10-9 though.

Tokushima held Kyoto to a 1-1 draw last time, after Morioka of Kyoto were sent off early in the 2nd half. Tokushima surprisingly took the lead a few minutes before that, and with the sending off as well, they were for a while looking like stealing all 3 points. Some 5 minutes from time though, Paulinho finally got through to equalize. Kyoto deserved more, but the sending off ruined alot. Kyoto had 11 shots to Tokushima’s 7. Tokushima should be happy with the single point.
That was in fact the first ever point Tokushima have taken from Kyoto, as their record against them is 0-1-4. Tokushima’s home record is a lowly 1-4-6, and they’ve only scored 5 goals on those 11 games. Kyoto got 6-1-4 away, which makes them the 3rd best away team in the league. There’s no doubt who’s the favorites here, and an away win seems highly probable. Kyoto are on good form now, scoring alot of goals intheir recent matches. It’s set to continue here as they will probably take all points.
Prediction: Win for KYOTO

Tokyo Verdy 1969
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Sagan Tosu
Tokyo travelled to Osaka for their encounter with Cerezo on wednesday. They ended up winning it 2-0, but in fact it could have gone either way. Tokyo took the lead in the 30th minute, and although Cerezo created some big chances they failed to equalize. Tokyo doubled their lead midway through the 2nd half to literally kill the game off, as Cerezo by then looked out of steam. Cerezo outshot Tokyo 10-9 though, so it was close than the scoreline suggests. Sagan had Montedio at home, and came back from 0-1 to win it 2-1 after 2 late goals. Sagan were in fact a bit lucky to win this, as Montedio was clearly the better team. With a goal in the 80th and 85th minute, Sagan turned the game around and took all 3 points. That was the only really big chanves Sagan got, and Montedio outshot them 11-6.

Sagan won the first meeting 2-1 at home in a tight game. It was in the middle of Tokyo’s 7 games in a row losing streak, so a ” normal ” Tokyo side might have done better. Sagan had 12 shots to Tokyo’s 13, so draw might have been the most fair result. All previous meetings gives us 2-1-2. Tokyo’s home record is 6-0-5 so far, while Sagan away got 3-3-5. Sagan’s 3 wins all came within the last 4 matches, so they’re in pretty good form. they lost 4-1 to Shonan last round though. Tokyo have been quite inconsistent recenlty with 3-0-2 on their last 5. Sagan are without 3 regular defenders, and their replacements have a tough job dealing with Hulk and co. Historically, these games usually provides some goals, and I think we’re in for a similar story here. Although Sagan have showed prominent form, Tokyo isn’t all bad either, and with the home advantage and all the injured defenders Sagan got I think Tokyo will win it. Tokyo got their injuries as well, but none of them are as important as Sagan’s absentees, and Tokyo got good cover as well.
Prediction: win for TOKYO

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Round 24 Previews



Cerezo Osaka
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Tokyo Verdy 1969
Cerezo recorded their 4th straight win at Thespa last round, and with that climbed above their opponents for this game. The game were full of errors and mistakes, which resulted in many chances for both teams ( Thespa 14 - Cerezo 16). Cerezo’s defence still played a very good match, and have now denied the opposing team from scoring for 4 consecutive games. Both of Cerezo’s goals came late in the game, both a result of sloppy defending from the Thespa side. Takuya Kokeguchi recorded his first ever J.League goal, and it seems like the many youngsters of Cerezo look set to be blossoming now. In-form striker Tatsuya Furuhashi scored the 2nd one, to take his tally to 6 goal so far this season, making him the Cerezo top goalscorer by far. Tokyo meanwhile, lost 1-0 home to league leaders Consadole Sapporo. In a rain-soaked contest, Tokyo put Consadole under constant press and should have gone up both 1 and 2-0. But as usual, the Consadole defence together with their GK Takagi proved to be too tough to break through for the Verdy forwards. Verdy managed as many as 17 shots to Consadole’s 10, who though proved to very dangerous from set-pieces. Consadole’s goal came from just that, only 6 minutes into the 2nd half. Tokyo have varied alot lately in their performances, but on the positive side they managed to play on par with the league leaders here, and were a bit unfortunate to see Consadole take all the points with them to Sapporo.
Shinji Kagawa and Yasuhito Morishima is absent due to their commitments to the U-20 national team. With FW Komatsu being injured in the last game, and Kakitani as well putting up an injury in training ( as well as Morishima being ineligible), it’s set for korean FW Kim to make his only 2nd start ever in the league along with Furuhashi up front. Now, they combined well against Thespa so it doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. Kagawa is out as well, and is being replaced by Sakemoto, who by no means is a poor replacement.
Their first meeting ended with a 2-0 victory at home for Tokyo, but in fact it was Cerezo that were the better team. Cerezo outshot Tokyo 9 to 6, and probably would have at least managed a point it it wasn’t for the sending off in the middle of the 2nd half which turned the game around for Tokyo. Both of Tokyo’s goals came after Cerezo was reduced to 10 men.
All previous meetings gives us 1-3-3 for Cerezo, and the games usually provided few goals.
Cerezo at home this season got a 5-2-4, with 2 wins in a row now, and Tokyo away got 3-3-4. On the last 4, Tokyo holds a record of 2-2-0 though.
It’s no doubt Cerezo is the team in the better form among these, and gets the favourite tag mainly cause of that. Tokyo might have bigger names on their payroll, and doesn’t by far have the same injury problems Cerezo are struggling with. However, I dont want to underestimate the home side here, as they have shown they can battle it out against even the best. Their defence has improved alot lately, and the Tokyo strikers faces a tough battle breaking through. Also, Cerezo are now back at their main stadium, which will lead to a more than doubling in number of attendance. The extra support, as well as the feeling of finally playing ”home” again, can only be a good thing for Cerezo. IT will most surely be a close battle this one, but I hold the home team as small favorites. With Cerezo’s improving defence, all their absent strikers, and Tokyo strikers off-form, I think we’ll see few goals as well.
Prediction : CEREZO WIN
Consadole Sapporo
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Thespa Kusatsu
Consadole fought hard to produce a 1-0 win away at Tokyo last round. Consadole were able to field something close to their best line-up, and were only missing playmaker Seiya Fujita, who were rested and will be missing for the next games since he is with the U-20 national team. Tokyo started the game best, and could have scored a couple of goals. After the break, Consadole took more and over, and looked especially dangerous from set-pieces. A set-piece resulted in the only goal of the game as well, as defender Soda nodded home a free kick from Nishitani. You can say Consadle did enough to deserve the win, but truth to be told Tokyo should at least salvaged a point here. Thespa lost out 2-0 to Cerezo at home, in a game filled with surprisingly many errors for both teams. In-form Cerezo proved better at capitalizing on the other team’s faults though, and 2 late goals in the 2nd half secured the win for the visitors. Now, Thespa have gone 5 games in a row without a win.

Fujita is out for Consadole as earlier mentioned, but with as they proved against Tokyo, they manage well without him too. Consadole will probably once again switch to a 4-3-3 formation here, to put pressure on the Thespa defence. Their first meeting somewhat surprisingly ended with a 2-1 win for Thespa at home.All goals came with 6 minutes close to the end of the 1st half. Consadole were the one to score first, but 2 quick replies from Thespa turned the game around. Thespa outshot Consadole 10 to 8, and probably played one their best matches all season. All meetings gives us 6-1-1 for Consadole, so it was Thespa’s first ever win against them. Consadole’s home record this season is 7-3-0, and they are with that the only team who still have gone unbeaten at home. That’s not likely to end here, as Thespa away only got 2-4-4. With the loss fresh in memory, I think the Consadole players will want a revenge here, and they’ll probably win this one easily. Thespa are on a bad streak now, and although Consadole have been facing some problems on their own, I think Thespa’s poor run looks set to continue here. As usual with Consadole, I think we’ll see few goals as well.
Prediction: CONSADOLE WIN

Ehime FC
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Avispa Fukuoka
Ehime travelled to Sendai where they lost 3-0 to the home side. Ehime never really stood a chance this game, as Vegalta dominated from the beginning. They didn’t score the first goal until just minutes before the break though. Although Vegalta looked to have it all under control for most of the game, Ehime created some chances of their own as well. Vegalta outshot them 18-10,and all in all won it pretty easily. Avispa on the other hand, picked up a nice 2-1 away win at Montedio to go 5th in the table. It was a close game, with few chances for both teams. Avispa went 1-0 up in the 10th minute after an own goal by a Montedio player, and they extended their lead to 2-0 right before the break. Montedio took over more in the 2nd half and reduced early in the half. Despite some offensive changes from Montedio at the end, they failed to score the 2nd one to see Avispa get all points. A fair result after all.


Avispa will be without their prolific goalscorer Lincoln here, but Hayashi who probably will take his place is not a bad replacement at all.
In the first meeting Avispa won 1-0 at home, but should have won by a much bigger margin according to play. Avispa were very ineffective, and squandered plenty of chances before Lincoln put the home crowd to ease with a goal in the 80th minute. Lincoln was then sent off a minute later, which led to Avispa having to play the rest of the game with 10 minutes. Ehime didn’t produce much even with one man more, and fully deserved to lose. Avispa outshot Ehime 18-10. That’s the only meeting ever between the 2 clubs. Ehime’s home form this year is 2-1-7, while Avispa away got 5-1-4. Ehime have only managed 6 goals in 10 games at home this season, and they have a serious problems up front, having the lowest goalscoring record in the league. I think we’ll see another win here for Avispa, as they are clearly a much better team. They are missing some important players though, and with their sole striker Lincoln out, the game doesn’t promises alot of goals. Therefore, a low scoring win for Avispa.
Prediction: AVISPA WIN
Mito Hollyhock
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Vegalta Sendai
Mito were looking for their 3rd win in a row against Kyoto last round, but just lost out 2-1 away. Mito continued with their positive football that made them win the 2 previous matches, but met tough opposition in Kyoto. Kyoto took the lead around the 30th minute mark, but right after the break, Mito replied after an own goal by a Kyoto defender. Kyoto only needed 5-6 minutes to go one up again, and from that time on, Mito hadn’t more to give, and lost 2-1 eventually. Kyoto outshout them 10 to 7, and although Mito played good and fought hard, it was a deserved win. Vegalta ran over Ehime at home, and won a pretty easy 3-0 win. Even though they dominated the play, Vegalta needed almost a half to score their first goal. The 2nd half ran a bit more smoothly, and the 3-0 win gives a good picture of how the game went. Vegalta had 18 shots to Ehime’s 10.
Vegalta won the first match pretty easily 2-0. Mito never looked like getting anything from it, and although they put on a good display in the first half, they weren’t really up for it in the long run. Vegalta’s both goals came late in the game, but they were unlucky not to have taken the lead on an earlier occasion.Vegalta had 18 shots in total, to Mito’s 9. Vegalta holds an amazing record over Mito, with 9-4-0 on all meetings. Mito’s home form is close to abysmal, with only 1-1-8 this season. Their one win in their last home match thogh, against Ehime. Vegalta away are decent, with 5-2-4. Although Mito have showed some promising play lately, they face a really tough opponent here. I will be very surprised to see they get away with even a point in this game, as Vegalta simply are a much better team. Vegalta have been poor away lately, though and lost their latest 3. Also, apaort from the Ehime game, Vegalta hasn’t scored as many goals as they have done earlier in the season. But a win here seems very likely, but i don’t think we’ll see that many goals.
Prediction: VEGALTA WIN
Sagan Tosu
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Montedio Yamagata
Sagan didn’t play last round, so their last game was against Shonan Bellmare away, where they succumbed to a 4-1 defeat. Sagan were the better team in the 1st half, and were 1-0 up at the break. However, a changed Bellmare side took the 2nd half by storm, and quickly scored 3 goals to literally kill off the game. Sagan were outshot 15-8, so all in all it was a deserved win for Bellmare. Montedio lost to Avispa Fukuoka at home, with a final score of 2-1 for the visitors. Avispa started the game best, and were 2-0 up before Montedio mamanged to reply early in the 2nd half. Montedio did what hey could do level the score, but despite some offensive changes the score remained the same, to prolong Montedio’s poor run to 8 games without a win. Avispa deserved the win as well.

Their first meeting ended with a narrow 2-1 home win for Montedio. Sagan was the one to take the lead though early in the 2nd half, and when Montedio got an important defender sent off right after the break, Sagan looked set for the win. With the last 10 minutes though, Montedio somehow fought back and turned the game around with 2 quick goals. A bit fortunate maybe, as Sagan were all in all the best team. Sagan outshot Montedio 10-7.
Historically, Montedio holds the edge with 11-2-4 on all meetings. Sagan’s home form 6-0-4 this season, and on the las 5 they have 4-0-1, only slipping up to Consadole lately. Montedio’s form is on a downard slope with 3 away losses in a row now. Total, the have 5-1-4 away this season. With Montedio missing 3 very important defenders, Sagan have every chance here to win this. With Sagan’s form improving lately, as well as the current slump the visitors find themselves in, I think we’re in for an away win here. Usually, these games provides a lot of goals, and with ”all” of Montedio’s defence out, that looks likely to happen here as well. Most certain a home win.
Prediction: SAGAN WIN
Shonan Bellmare
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Kyoto Sanga F.C.
Shonan produced their 3rd win in a row last round, when they fought off Tokushima beautifully with a 2-0 away win. One goal in each half were enough for Shonan, as Tokushima didn’t manage to reply. Shonan won the game pretty convincingly, and looks to be back in good form again. Shonan outshot Tokushima 14-8. Kyoto won as well, when they had Mito at home. Kyoto won the game 2-1, and although Mito fought hard enough to deserver a pont maybe, the pure class difference among the teams proved to be too big as Kyoto rounded up the win. Kyoto went early one-nil up, but minutes after the break, the in-form Mito players put the Kyoto defence under so much pressure that one of them made an own goal. It wasn’t to be enough though, and when Kyoto went ahead again with Paulinho, who’s now #2 in the top goalscorer list, Mito failed to reply. A deserved win after all.

Shonan top scorer Hara is out due to suspension, while Andrè of Kyoto is still struggling with his injury. In the first meeting, the teams shared the spoils with a 0-0 draw in Kyoto. Kyoto looked by far the best team, though, and only poor finishing from the strikers prevented them from scoring. Kyoto outshot Shonan 16-8. All meetings gives us 1-4-4 for Shonan, so they’re up for a tough one here. Shonan’s form have improved though, and at home they have a nice 6-1-3 record. Kyoto away have 5-1-4, and they’ve lost their latest 2. It’s the most open game this round, and both teams are capable of winning this. With Shonan’s rising form, and the home advantage, I will hold them as favorites. Kyoto have been untouchable at home lately, but haven’t quite been that good away. I think Bellmare will continue their nice run anyway, and bag this one. With both teams main strikers out, I don’t think we’ll see that many goals as well.
Prediction: SHONAN WIN

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Kokeguchi and Furuhashi's goals 2007/6/24

Kokeguchi's first ever goal in the J.League.- A beautiful chip-shot by Furuhashi.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Thespa Kusatsu - Cerezo Osaka 0-2

Cerezo recorded their 4th win in a row yesterday, when they travelled to Kusatsu. Two 2nd half goals from Tatsuya Furuhashi and Takuya Kokeguchi secured the win for the flaming pinks. This was Kokeguchi's first ever goal for Cerezo, after he pounded in a rebound from a Ze Carlos shot in the 72th minute. Just minutes later, Korean FW Kim and Furuhashi combined well for Furuhashi to score his 6th goal of the season from a beautiful chip to settle the score ( see video for both goals).




Reports says Cerezo didn't play that well really, and although they are on a roll now, there's still some flaws and errors that needs to be taken care of. But it's a young team, and they learn more and more everyday.
Some stats from the game:
Cerezo line-up:
GK: Yoshida - D: Maeda, Ze Carlos, Yanagisawa, Ezoe - M: Are, Kokeguchi, Miyamoto, Kagawa- F: Furuhashi, Komatsu
Subs: Kim -> Komatsu ( 26th minute), Chiba -> Kagawa ( 89th minute)
Yellow Cards: Cerezo: Maeda - None for Thespa
Shots: Thespa 14 - Cerezo 16

With the win, Cerezo climbed to 6th place in the table, ahead of Verdy and Montedio on goal difference. It's still 8 points up to 3rd, and with 2 games this week against really tough competition, I guess we'll see better how things stand after those.

First, on Wednesday, Cerezo are up against Tokyo Verdy at home, and for the weekend they travel to Sendai to meet 3rd placed Vegalta. If Cerezo can manage 4 points from those 2 games, we have every reason to be optimistic!

For the upcoming game against Tokyo, Yasuhito Morishima will return to duty, and hopefully we'll see many visitors now that Cerezo are back at Nagai 1.


Friday, June 22, 2007

Round 23 - Previews



Thespa Kusatsu
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Cerezo Osaka
Thespa travelled to Fukuoka last round, where they were easily beaten by the home side, 2-0. Thespa were outshot 12-7 by Avispa,and never looked like getting anything from the game. Avispa scored one goal in each half to claim the win. Cerezo have now won 3 matches in a row, which is a season-record for their sake. They’ve been struggling with lots of injuries this season, but it looks much better on that front now, which their recent results proves. Last weekend it was Montedio they won against, 1-0. The game were quite even, and Montedio put the home side under pressure almost instantly. Cerezo rode it off though, and early in the 2nd half, substitute Yasuhito Morishima scored with a brilliant header to take Cerezo 1-0 up. Not much more happened after that, and all in all it was a deserved result. Cerezo returned to their normal stadium for this game ( which has been closed due to maintenance work for the upcoming IAAF World Championship), and with that, the attendance were more than doubled from previous home games this season. With such a rise in number of support from the fans, and the return to their real home stadium, it most likely gave the Cerezo player an extra boost.

Cerezo’s goal scorer last match, Y.Morishima ( who cam one a substitute) is out due to suspension, so Cerezo will field the same starting line-up as they did against Montedio. Thier first meeting this season ended with a narrow 1-0 win for Cerezo at home. Cerezo scored early, and for the rest of the game they defended their lead while Thespa failed to produce anything dangerous up front. Both teams had oly 4 shots each, which gives a good picture on how boring the game turned out to be. If anyone deserved the win though, it was Cerezo. That was in fact the first meeting between the 2 teams. Thespa at home this season only got 3-3-4, while Cerezo away got 3-1-5. Cerezo have 2 away victories in a row though.
With a win here, Cerezo are suddenly back in the race for promotion, which after all is their target this season. They have gradually improved lately, and must find themselves as favorites here against Thespa, who on the other hand is on quite bad form. I think we’re up for a match with few goals though, as neither of teams are known for their striking force. Cerezo have 7 goals in their 2 last away matches though, so there’s a small possibility for another big win. I think we’ll see a narrow away win, as Cerezo will probably continue on their good run.
Prediction : Cerezo Win

Montedio Yamagata
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Avispa Fukuoka
Montedio played Cerezo away last round, where they lost 1-0 to an in-form home side. The game were pretty even though, with Montedio’s 8 shots to Cerezo’s 7. Montedio started the game best, and had some big chances before the break they should have scored from. Early in the 2nd half though, Cerezo scored what to be the only goal of the game to see all points stay in Osaka. Montedio played ok, but as usual in their recent matches, they failed to turn their good play into goals. So, all in all a fair result which leaves Montedio with only 3 points from their last 8 games. Avispa were also on bad form, with only 1 win and 6 losses from their last 7. But against Thespa last weekend they finally turned it around, and won comfortably 2-0 against a poor Thespa side. Avispa controlled most of the game, and a goal in each half proved to be enough. Thespa did have some chances too, but it weren’t enough to overcome the Avispa goalkeeper. Avispa had 12 shots to Thespa’s 7.
Avispa most probably gets their australian defender Ceccoli back for this, which has been an important member of their defence, and he has surely been missed. With Montedio in such bad form, he might be what Avispa needs to prevent the home side from scoring any goals here.
The teams met as early as in the 2nd round, in a game which ended 1-1. Both teams got a player sent off in the 1st half, and both goals as well came before the break. The game were pretty even, and after the sending off’s, neither of the teams risked too much and focused more on the defensive work. The 2nd half didn’t produce any major chances at all, and it turned out to be a dull encounter where Avispa had 5 shots and Montedio 6. On all previous meetings, we have a 2-8-3 record, and the matches were usually tight with few goals. Montedio haven’t been the best at hom this season, with only 3-5-2 from their first 10 matches. They have now gone 4 home matches in a row without a victory,so it’s about time they win again on home soil. Avispa away got a decent 4-1-4 so far, but they’ve lost their latest 3 away.
As you can see, both teams are in terrible form, and if they don’t start winning matches again, they will struggle to keep up with their rivals in the ultra-tight promotion race. I rate Avispa as a better team than Montedio, and they showed some progress in their last match against Thespa as well. The Montedio side we see know, could very much be the ”true” reflection of their abilites, and the nice results we’ve seen earlier in the season simply were the result of the team over-performing. I think we’re in for a tight game though, and although both teams have scored a fair amount of goal up to now, i think this one will be a low-scoring one, with the away side as probable winners.
Prediction: Avispa Win

Tokushima Vortis
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Shonan Bellmare
Tokushima put on a good effort away at league leaders Consadole to get a well-deserved point in a 1-1 draw. Consadole clearly missed their 3 absent midfielders, and quite surprisingly it was Tokushima who put the home side under pressure, and not the other way around. The game were still dead-locked at the break, but just 10 minutes into the 2nd half Tokushima went up 1-0 after a nice goal. Consadole replied immediately though, and could have gone one up if they had been a little more efficient. But all in all a great result for Tokushima, who outshot the visitors 11-10. Tokushima tend to have a few of these games along the season, upsetting far more talented teams(especially away). Unfortunately for them, they never really manages to show the same kind of effort and determination against the smaller teams. Shonan had Sagan at home, and went 1-0 down early in the game. In the first half, Sagan were the better team of those two, and could have gone both 2 and 3-0 up if they had been a bit more lucky. In the second haf though, a completely different Shonan side entered the field. Just 8 minutes into the half, Shonan had already scored 3 goals to practically finish the game. After that, the Sagan players seemed to give up, and Shonan rounded it all up with a nice last minute goal to win the game 4-1. Shonan outshot Sagan 15-8, so all in all it was a fully deserved win. However, there were 2 completely different sides ( in share of performance) before and after the break, and it will be interesting to see which of them that enters the field in Tokushima.

Unfortunately for Tokushima, DF Kono who has been an important contributor to the team this season is out for up to a half year with a foot injury. Now, Tokushima doesn’t have that good of a coverage at the back, and Kono will clearly be missed.
In the first meeting of the season, Shonan won 2-1 at home after a Tokushima MF were sent off early in the game. Shonan went 1-0 up just minutes after the red card, and soon after they were 2-0 up. Tokushima replied though, to take the game to the break with a 2-1 lead for Shonan. The 2nd half were pretty much dominated by Shonan, but some poor finishing prevented them from scoring any more goals. Shonan outshot Tokushima 15-5, and it was a well-deserved win. History-wise, Tokushima got the edge with 4-2-3 on all meetings, and most of those games produced plenty of goals. Tokushima’s home form is a lowly 1-4-5, and their only win came in the 1st match of the season. Shonan away got a decent 4-2-4. Shonan can here field their best line-up, and it’s no doubt they are big favorites. They currently lies in 4th, and are in a good position concerned to the possibility of promotion. Tokushima are the ”draw-specials” in the league, though, with 10 drawn matches so far. hey have been poor at home, so I rate the away side as favorites. I think we’ll see alot of goals as well,especially for the away side.
Prediction : Shonan Win

Vegalta Sendai
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Ehime FC
Vegalta succumbed to giant-killers Kyoto last round, where they surprisingly lost 5-1. Vegalta had been pretty decent in defence prior to that game, so for Kyoto to put 5 goals on them were a surprise,even though they are missing their preferred GK. Kyoto were up 3-0 already by half time, and by then the outcome of the game were pretty much decided. Kyoto started the 2nd half in similar style, and were 5-0 up before Vegalta got their consolation goal in the dying minutes. Vegalta produced 12 shots though, to Kyoto’s 16, so it wasn’t as one sided s the results suggests. In the ”battle of minnows”, Ehime lost 3-0 to bottom-placed Mito away. Mito outplayed the visitors, and the scoreline was fully deserved. Mito scored all 3 goals in the 1st half, and although Ehime created their fair share of chances as well, they failed to find the net. Mito outshot Ehime 18-13. Ehime had won their 2 previous matches against top-notch opposition, but were here outplayed against the smallest team in the league.


Their first meeting ended with a 4-0 win for Vegalta away. However, Ehime were the team with most chances ( 15 to Vegalta’s 13), and Vegalta didn’t deserve to win by that much. However, the impressive Vegalta strikers converted their chances as usual, and all in all it was deserved win. It wasn’t as one sided as the scoreline suggests though. All previous meetings gives us 4-1-0 for Vegalta. Vegalta at home this year got 5-3-2, and they have 3 home wins in a row now. Ehime away got 3-1-6. Clearly, 2nd placed Vegalta are major favorites here, and i cant possible see Ehime win this one. Vegalta are still the highest scoring team in the league, while Ehime now are the least-scoring one. Both teams have conceded many goals, so I think we’ll see a high scoring battle here as well. I think Vegalta will bounce back from their humiliating defeat least round in Kyoto, and win this one pretty easily.
Prediction : Vegalta Win

Kyoto Sanga F.C.
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Mito Hollyhock
Kyoto ran riot with Vegalta last round, when they quite comfortably won 5-1 at home. Kyoto, and especially their brazilian FW Paulinho proved to be in great form, and a hattrick from the brazilian proved how important it is to have several players in your team that are capable of scoring goals ( Their other striker Andrè who has been the main offensive contributor so far this season, were missing here). Kyoto were 3-0 up already by half time, and scored 2 more goals before Vegalta got their consolation goal. Kyoto outshot the visitors 16-12. Apart from goalscorer Paulinho, who now only has Tokyo FW Hulk ahead of him in the goalscorer list, AM Kuranuki has been in great form in the recent matches. He just recently made his debut for the team, and last year’s Ventforet captain has really showed his value to the team after he returned from his injury. Mito as well won big, when they crushed fellow minnows Ehime 3-0 at home. Mito were 3-0 up already by half time, at wich point the outcome of the game were pretty muh decided. The Mito players really impressed, and played their best match of the season by far. This was Mito’s 2nd win in a row. Mito recently got a new President, and he has launched an ambitious plan for the club over a 5 year-period. Along with this, Mito is building a new stadium, so it’s likely that these factors contributed to Mito’s nice results lately.

Their first meeting ended with a 2-0 away win for Kyoto. Both goals came in first half, and Kyoto looked liked they had it all under control by then. Early in the 2nd half though, a Kyoto defender got sent off, and after that Kyoto put everyone in defence, and Mito took more and more over. Mito could have scored both 1 and 2 goals, but as usual in their case, their finishing let them down. Both teams had 11 shots each. Kyoto has a great record against Mito, with 5-3-0 on all meetings. Kyoto at home this year got an impressive 5-4-1, and are by that the 2nd best home team in the league.They have 3 wins in a row now on home ground. Mito are a much better side home than away, but their away record is only 2-3-5 so far. Although Mito have shown signs of improvement lately, I doubt they can handle a team as good as Kyoto here. Kyoto are in great form, and will most likely win this easily. Mito are capable of upsetting them though, but i don’t see it happening. I’ll think we’re in for lots of goals as well.
Prediction : Kyoto Win

Tokyo Verdy 1969
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Consadole Sapporo
Tokyo didn’t play last round, so their last game was against Thespa away. Neither of the teams managed to score, so it ended 0-0. Tokyo were marginally the better team though, and should have converted some of their big chances into goals. Tokyo outshot the home team 14-11. Consadole have slumped in form recently, first losing away at Ehime and ionly managing a draw at home in their last match against Tokushima. In that game, Tokushima actually were the most dangerous team , and Consadole had enough keeping the visiting side from scoring. Tokushima took a deserved lead early in the 2nd half, only to see Davi of Consadole equalize 3 minutes later. After that, Consadole were the best team, but since neither of the teams managed to score, it ended in a draw. Tokushima outshot Consadole 11-10.
Consadole get 3 important members back from suspension, which all were clearly missed last round.On the other hand, Fujita in midfield is out here, which is a major blow.
The first meeting this season ended with a 4-3 win at home for Consadole. Consadole were 3-0 up after only 15 minutes, and Tokyo had to fight hard to get back into the game. With one goal before the break, and 2 just after, they managed to equalize only to see Consadole yet again take the lead in the 64th minute. There were plenty of time for Tokyo to score another, and they were most of all unlucky not to get something from it. Tokyo outshot Consadole 14-12. The teams have met 5 times before, with Tokyo winning the first one and Consadole the other 4. Tokyo have here a golden opportunity to close in on the league leaders, as Consadole are in relatively poor form. Tokyo are missing some important members though, but they have replacements who are fully capable of doing a good job here. Tokyo’s home record is 6-0-4 this season, while Consadole away got 7-1-3, which is a league best. Both teams can win this, but because of the home advantage and Consadole’s current slump in form i hold Tokyo as small favorites. We probably won’t see 7 goals as what was the case last time, but either way I think there will be some goals, mainly for Tokyo.
Prediction : Tokyo Win

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Monday, June 18, 2007

Cerezo FINALLY on the right track



With 3 strong back to back victories in about a week, Cerezo have now joined the vast bunch of pursuiters and find themselves only 6 points clear of 4th place.

Cerezo have struggled with many injuries and absent players this season, which clearly shows in their results. However, the injury list now only contains 2 players, and Cerezo fielded strong line-ups for all 3 games.
First they fought off Avispa Fukuoka at home with a 2-0 win where Ze Carlos was the man in charge. He scored a neat goal, and had some nice contributions all through the game.

Then, midweek, Cerezo travelled to Tokushima and surprised everyone ( probably even themselves) as they put as many as 4 goals behind the Tokushima goalie. This season, scoring goals have been the biggest problem, but against Tokushima it seemed like the "ketchup-effect" took place, and when they finally scored one, 3 more was to follow.

Cerezo were 3-0 up already by the 30th minute, and from then on, they just had to control the lead. The best player were Tatsuya Furuhashi, who scored the 2 opening goals.


So, for Saturday's game all hopes were up for yet another victory, and it was the substitue Yasuhito Morishima who became the hero of the day, with a brilliant header to take Cerezo 1-0 up. Morishima came off the bench for the 2nd half, and only needed 9 minutes to score. After that, Montedio made some offensive changes to try to equalize, but a good Cerezo defence led by the impressive Kenjiro Ezoe kept Montedio from scoring.

So, the 3rd goal for Morishima, who soon will be off to Canada, where he will spearhead the Japan U-20 attack as they are battling it out against the best in the U-20 World Cup.



Worth mentioning as well is that Cerezo now are back where they belong, in the revamped Nagai Stadium ( main), which has been closed due to some work to make it ready for the IAAF World Cup which will be held there in august. And for the Montedio game, the attendance were over 3 times more than what was the case in their last home match. Over 14 000 people attended the game, which can only be a good thing, as Cerezo needs all the support they need!

Saturday, June 16, 2007


Cerezo Osaka
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Montedio Yamagata
Cerezo have now won 2 in a row, and in midweek they travelled to Tokushima were they defeated the home team by 4-0. The game wasn’t as one sided as the scoreline suggests though, but 3 early goals by Cerezo killed the game off. A great win for Cerezo though, who now only finds themselves 3 points behind Avispa, and 6 points behind the 4th placed team.For that game, Cerezo could for the first time in a long long time field something that was close to their preferred starting line-up, which were reflected by the score. Montedio on the other hand, very surprisingly lost 2-1 at home to minnows Mito. Montedio struggled that game, and fully deserved to lose. Mito went up 1-0 midway through the 1st half, and when Montedio equalized jsut after the break, ”everyone” thought that Montedio would now win it easily. Mito didn’t gave up though, and scored again to take all points. Mito had 9 shots to Montedio’s 8. Montedio have now only taken 3 points from their last 6 matches, and are in desperate need of a win again.
In their first meeting this season which also is the only previous meeting between them, Montedio won 2-1 at home. The victory was well deserved, as Montedio outshot Cerezo 10 to 4. Montedio took an early lead, but when Cerezo equalized with only minutes left on the clock, it looked like it would end a draw. Montedio scored again though, and took a deserved win. Cerezo’s home form is only 4-2-4, while Montedio away got 5-1-3. They’ve lost their 2 latest away games though. It’s a team that might be on it’s way up that meets a team that’s seems be struggling here, so I rate Cerezo as favorites. The game is important for both teams though, as Cerezo needs to win to have a realistic chance of fighting for promotion, and also for Montedio which needs to keep up with the other teams at the front. Either way, the great football we saw from Montedio earlier in the season probably don’t reflect the true quality of their squad, and if the ”bubble bursted” now, they looks set to lose this one and probably face an uphill battle for the rest of the season. Cerezo win!


Consadole Sapporo
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Tokushima Vortis
Consadole somewhat surprisingly slumped to a defeat lat round when they had Ehime away. Consadole got 2 players sent off which of course played a major part in the outcome of this match. Actually, both of Ehime’s goals came minutes after the sending offs, and Consadole didn’t reply before it was too late with only a few minutes left to play. Still, with the 2 red cards, Consadole outshot Ehime 14-13. The 1st red card was a result of 2 yellw cards, and quite frankly, the player should never had been sent off as it merely was a foul. Unlucky result for Consadole. Tokushima succumbed to a in-form Cerezo team, when they lost 0-4 at home. Cerezo were 3-0 up already by the 30th minute, and by that time the game was all set. Tokushima didn’t stop playing just because of that though, and created alot of chances all throughout the game. Actually, Tokushima outshot Cerezo 14-12. Up to that game this season, Tokushima had been very good in defence, only conceding a goal pr game on average. They now find themselves only a point above Ehime who’s in 12th.
In their 1st meeting this year, Consadole won 3-0 away after 3 quick goals in the 2nd half. Tokushima weren’t all lost though, and created more chances than the visitors. Tokushima have never beaten Consadole actually, and holds a 0-5-4 record against them. Besides a few big wins for Consadole, the matches were usually few on goals. Consadole’s home form is an impressive 7-2-0, while Tokushima got 2-5-3 away. Both teams are as you can see without some important players, and the 3 suspended players for Consadole will be missed. However, Consadole have proved before that they can cope well without a few regulars, and for this game AM Davi returns from suspension. Of course, Consadole are big favorites here, and rightly so. A big win like last time seems unlikely, but I doubt Tokushima will get any from this. Keep in mind that Tokushima have 9 drawn matches so far this season, and has only lost 3 games away. Either way, Consadole looks set to bounce back from the defeat at Ehime, which must go down as a ”work accident” and don’t reflect the teams great form. Win for Consadole.


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Vegalta Sendai
Kyoto travelled to Sagan last round, and lost 2-0 in a close game. Both teams created a fair amout of chances, with Kyoto’s 13 to Sagan’s 12 total shots on goal. Sagan proved most efficient though, and their two 2nd half goals proved to be enough. The win took Sagan closer to Kyoto, which now only have a 2 point lead to the 4 nearest pursuiters who’s all on 30 points. Vegalta were the only top team that won in midweek, as they overcame a visiting Avispa side by winning 1-0 . It was a pretty even game though with plenty of chances, and there should have been some more goals for both teams. Vegalta outshot Avispa 17-14, and closed the gap to Consadole in 1st to 10 points. Most of teams behind them have a game in hand though, so they must keep up their momentum to stay 2nd.

In their first meeting, Kyoto picked up all 3 points in a tight and very evenly played match that ended 0-1.. Both teams had 13 shots each, but an early goal for the away side were enough to secure the win. Kyoto holds the advantage over Vegalta historically as well, with 7-0-4 on all previous meetings. It’s the teams in 2nd and 3rd which meets here, and both teams are in need of a win here. Kyoto at home this season got 4-4-1 while Vegalta away got 5-2-3. Neither of the teams are in their best form, so it’s pretty open. The injuries for Vegalta might prove the difference though along with the home advantage. Also, Kyoto usually play good against Vegalta, so I hold them as favorites here.


Avispa Fukuoka
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Thespa Kusatsu
Avispa lost 1-0 to Vegalta away last round, but could have maybe should at least have gotten a draw out of it. Avispa had 14 shots on goal, to Vegalta’s 17. This was Avispa’s 6th loss in their last 7 matches, and they have now fallen all the way down to 8th. It’s pretty tight though, with 4 teams all on 30 points, which is 3 more than Avispa. Thespa played Tokyo Verdy at home, in a game that ended 0-0. Tokyo were however the better team, but as neither of the teams failed to score, it ended in a scoreless draw. Thespa had 11 shts to Tokyo’s 14. This was Thespa’s 3rd draw in a row now.
Avispa won the 1st match pretty easy 3-0 away. Avispa had 21 shots to Thespa’s 14, and fully deserved the game. 2 quick goals in the 1st half pretty much secured the win. The teams have met 5 times before, and Avispa won every one of them.
Avispa at home this season got 4-2-4, while Thespa away got 2-4-3. IF Avispa wants to keep in touch with the teams in front, they need to win this, and they probably will as well. Alhough they have won 6 of their last 7 matches, they haven’t played that bad, and probably should have deserved more from it. They have a perfect record against Thespa up till now, and I think they will keep it that way also after this game. Thespa draws alot of matches though, so there’s of course a chance of a draw here as well. However, this is game Avispa need and shall win.

Mito Hollyhock
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Ehime FC
Mito surprised everyone, and probably themselves as well, when they collected all points at Montedio last round. This was only Mito’s 2nd win of the season, but unfortunately for them, Ehime who’s in the place above them, also won. Mito played better than Montedio, so it was a deserved win. And the return of their probably best striker Nishino also played an impact, as he scored the decisive goal. If Nishino can keep it up, along with the other players that has been impressing lately, maybe we’ll see more goals to come from the Mito side. Ehime also won, when they had league leaders Consadole at home. They must find themselves lucky, as Consadole got 2 players sent off that game. Both Ehime’s goals came just after the sending offs, but still, it was Consadole that created the most dangerous chances. All in all a great win though.

The first meeting ended 0-0, but Ehime should probably have won it. Thet outshot Mito 12-10, but their chances were muc bigger than the visitors ones. It was a very tough game too, with plenty of yellow cards. All their previous meetings gives us 1-2-2 for Mito.
Mito’s home form is an abysmal 0-1-8, and they’ve only scored 4 goals on those 9 games.Ehime got 3-1-5 away, and have only conceded 9 goals away actually. Mito poor home form can’t continue forever though, and this is great chance for them to close in on Ehime. Ehime have proved to be good away though, so they are small favorites. Probably a scoreless draw.


Shonan Bellmare
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Sagan Tosu
Shonan didn’t play last round, so their last match were against Mito at home, where they won 2-0. Mito actually fought hard enough to at least deserve a draw, but Shonan’s superior finishing skills proved to be the difference. Also, Mito got a man sent off right before the break. Sagan had Kyoto at home, where they won 2-0. It was a very close game, and both teams could have won it. With the win, Sagan climbed up to 7th place, only 2 points clear of Kyoto in 3rd.

Shonan won the 1st meeting 5-0 away in a very one sided game. Shonan were up 3-0 by halftime, and the game were pretty much decided by then.Sagan got a player sent off late in the 2nd half. Shonan outshot Sagan 15 - 9.At that time however, Sagan were in really bad form. Shonan has the advantage historically as well, with 9-5-4 on all previous meetings. However, Sagan’s 4 victories all came last year.Shonan at home got 5-1-3 so far, while Sagan away got 3-3-4. Sagan have 3 victories in a row though away. On Sagan’s last 8, they’ve taken 19 out of a possible 24 points, so cleary they are in good form. Shonan aren’t that bad themselves, with 5-0-2 on last 7. Sagan’s superior form, and lust for revenge after the humiliating 0-5 loss might play a big part here though. Shonan varies alot in their performances, and usually struggle against teams thats in good form. Win for Sagan.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

J League 2 Round 21 - Previews

Tokushima Vortis
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Cerezo Osaka
Tokushima played their 9th drawn game this season, when they were held by Thespa at home last round. Tokushima were the better team, but failed to capitalize on their chances. As usual, Tokushima looked good in defence, but poor finishing proved to be the problem yet again. Tokushima have only scored 15 goals this season in 19 games, but have only conceded a goal pr game. Cerezo had Avispa at home, and surprised with a nice 2-0 win, Cerezo were missing many players, but the youngsters did a great job to overcome the Avispa team. Cerezo took an early lead , which Avispa never managed to equal. So when Cerezo added their 2nd goal with 10 minutes left, the win were secured. Both teams had 9 shots each.
Injured:
Tokushima: DF Kensaku Omori - frequent starter, MF-Noriaki Tsutsui - veteran sub - MF Koji Kataoka - regular starter, FW Kleberson- regular starter
Cerezo: AM Hiroaki Morishima - playmaker, MF Noriyuki Sakemoto - regular starter
Suspended:
Tokushima: None
Cerezo: DF Masayuki Yanagisawa - usual sub, but have started 8 games this season.
Cerezo’s injury list are reduced to only 2 men now, and they will for sure welcome the return of the absent players.
In the 1st meeting this season, Cerezo were held 1-1 by a visiting Tokushima side. Actually, Tokushima were the best team, and outshot Cerezo 9 to 5. That was actually the only meeting so far between them. Tokushima at home got 1-4-5 so far, while Cerezo away got 2-1-5. Both teams have been fairly good in defence this season, and problems have been more of the offensive kind. Cerezo get some offensive players back here though, and with a win here, they might be in touching distance of the teams above them fighting for 3rd - 8th pl ace. On paper, Cerezo looks a much better team than the home team here, but Cerezo’s been surprsingly poor this season, probably mostly due to injuries and a very young squad. However, i think they will continue on their nice win against Avispa, and win this one as well. At least, I don’t see them losing this. I’ll doubt we’ll see much goals though, so a narrow away win seems most likely.
Prediction Score: 0-1/0-2 ( Cerezo win, under 2,5 goals) ( 25-35-40)
Ehime FC
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Consadole Sapporo
Ehime didn’t play this weekend, so their last game was away at Tokyo, where they upset the home team by winning 1-0. It was an extremely one sided match, where Tokyo had to push for an equalizer for the entire game, after Ehime scored their goal in the 4th minute. But sloppy finishing and very good goalkeeping from Ehime’s keeper kept Tokyo scoreless. Tokyo had 19 shots to Ehime’s 5. Consadole travelled to in-form Sagan, where they must find themselves lucky to get away with all points. Consadole were under constant pressure from the home team, but as usual the very impressive defence and GK kept their strikers at bay. Consadole scored just after the break, and held out for their 7th consecutive win. Sagan outshot them 13-5 though.
Injured:
Ehime: MF Toru Chishima - regular substitute
Consadole: MF Tomohiro Wanami - frequent starter
Suspended:
Ehime: None
Consadole: AM Davi - important member
In their 1st meeting this season, Consadole picked up a 1-0 win at home. The game were quite even, with both teams creating a fair amount of chances. Consadole’s defence proved yet again to be the key, as they kept Ehime scoreless through the game. Consadole had 13 shots to Ehime’s 12. All previous meetings gives us 2-1-2, and both of Ehime’s victories came at home.The games were usually low-scoring ones. Ehime’s home form this season is not much to brag about though, with 1-1-7 so far. Consadole away got an impressive 7-1-2. Consadole gets a few players back for this game, but Davi in midfield are out. They should easily win this anyway, but i don’t see many goals, and a narrow away win for Consadole seems like a safe bet. I think Consadole will maintain the gap they now have on their nearest rivals, and take their 8th win in a row here.
Prediction Score: 0-1 / 0-2 ( Consadole win, under 2,5 goals) ( 10-20-70)

Montedio Yamagata
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Mito Hollyhock
Montedio travelled to Kyoto last round, and lost 3-0. It was a pretty strange result, as Kyoto scored on practically every major chance they had, while Montedio wasted all of theirs. In fact, Montedio outshot them 9-6, but it was the home team that took the points. With this result, Montedio haven’t won in 6 games, and have fallen all the way down to 5th in the table. Mito had Shonan away, where they lost 2-0 after they had one player sent off in the 44th minute. Before that, Mito had been the better team, and created the most chances. However, just seconds after the sending off, Shonan scored their 1st goal. In the 2nd half Mito for long held Shonan at bay, and could have gotten an equalizer if they were lucky. Shonan scored again though late in the game, to secure the win. Shonan had 13 shots to Mito’s 10.
Injured:
Montedio: DF Makoto Kimura- regular starter, DF Kohei Usui- regular starter
Mito: DF Takashi Kuramoto - regular starter , DF Hideyuki Nakamura - frequent starter
Suspended:
Montedio: None
Mito: DF Shinya Hatta -regular starter
Both teams are missing 2 important defenders, which might open up things at both defences.
The teams met in the 1st round of the season, where Montedio won 1-0 away in a pretty close contest. As usual, Mito were good in the 1st hald but failed to score any goals. Montedio’s single goal came late in the 2nd half, at a point where the Mito players looked like they were out of steam. All their previous meetings gives us 10-4-3 for Montedio.
This is the perfect game for Montedio to get out of their poor form, as they meet Mito who’s lost their 5 last games. I think we’ll see some goals as well, as both squads are missing 2 of their defenders, and these games often provide lots of goals.This is a must win for Montedio if they want to keep up with Vegalta and Kyoto, and I think they will win it easily too.
Prediction Score: 3-0 ( Montedio win, over 2,5 goals) ( 65-20-15)

Sagan Tosu
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Kyoto Sanga F.C.
Sagan were unfortunate not to get something from their match against Consadole last round. Consadole won 1-0 away, but it was Sagan that were the better team. Consadole were under pressure all through the game, but Sagan’s strikers failed to score on the impressive Consadole GK. Sagan had 5-1-0 on their last 6 before that, and proved against Sapporo as well as they are in good form. They were just unlucky. Kyoto were lucky too, to produce the 3-0 win against Montedio. Without Andre, their other offensive players proved extremely effective, scoring on 3 of 6 chances in total. They were tight in defence though, so in one way it was a fair result. The win put Kyoto in joint 2nd, but with a game in hand.
Injured:
Sagan: MF Yu Eto - regular starter , DF Yuichi Shibakoya - regular starter, MF Yosuke Nozaki - squad player
Kyoto: Ryuzo Morioka -regular starter
Suspended:
Sagan: None
Kyoto: None
In the first meeting this season, the teams shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw in Kyoto. Kyoto were by far the best team though, and outshot Sagan 17-8.All meetings gives us 3-2-4 for Sagan, but on the last 4 meetings Sagan got 3-1-0. Sagan this season got 5-0-4 at home, and as you can see they vary alot. They have for example two 0-5 defeats at home, but also a 5-1 win this season. Kyoto away got 5-1-3. Although Kyoto won big last round, they haven’t really impressed lately. They lost the game before at Sapporo, and have been struggling a bit. FW Andrè returns here from injury, but they managed well without him last round. Sagan on the other hand, lost last time, but played really good. I hold Sagan as favorites here as well, and see all points stay with the home team. These games usually provides alot of goals as well, so a high scoring battle seems probable.
Prediction Score: 3-2 ( Sagan win, over 2,5 goals) ( 50-20-30)
Thespa Kusatsu
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Tokyo Verdy 1969
Thespa had Tokushima away where they held out for a scoreless draw. Tokushima were by far the most dangerous team, and should have won it. Tokushima had 11 shots to Thespa’s 4, so Thespa must see themselves lucky to get the single point. In the dying minutes, Thespa got a player sent off. Tokyo had Vegalta at home, and just tipped the visitors for the victroy in a very tight and exciting game. Tokyo were 1-0 up by half time, and extended their lead midway through the 2nd half. Vegalta never looked beaten though, and should have scored some goals by then. They didn’t score before the 86th minute though, and by then it was little time left for the 2nd goal. All in all a tight game, where Vegalta had 12 shots to Tokyo’s 10.
Injured:
Thespa: MF Sotaru Sada - regular starter
Tokyo: GK Yoshinari Takagi - regular starter, MF Ze Ruis - regular starter, DF Kojiro Kaimoto - squad player, MF Tsuyoshi Yoshitake- regular substitute, DF Kensuke Fukuda- regular starter

Suspended:
Thespa: FW Ryuji Uhihara
Tokyo: MF Toshihiro Hattori -regular starter
In their 1st meeting this season, Tokyo thrashed Thespa 5-0 at home, in a really one-sided contest. Thespa never stood a chance, and fully deserved to lose. Tokyo have met Thespa 5 times, and have 3 wins and 2 draws so far. Thespa at home this season got 3-2-4, while Tokyo away also got 3-2-4. On the last 7 games, Tokyo have taken 16 out of a possible 21 points, so they are in good form again. Thespa’s form is so-so, they pick up a point or a win here and there, but nothing more. Tokyo are still missing some players here, but they should manage well without the absent players too. They are of course big favorites here, and I think they will meet their expectations too,and take the win.
As usual with Tokyo, there will probably be lots of goals as well.
Prediction Score: 1-3 ( Tokyo win, over 2,5 goals) ( 20-20-60)

Vegalta Sendai
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Avispa Fukuoka
Vegalta travelled to Tokyo last round, where they lost 2-1. The game were pretty even, and one could argue that Vegalta deserved more from it, but poor finishing for once let Vegalta down. Tokyo were 2-0 up before Vegalta replied, but by then it was too late. Vegalta outshot Tokyo 12-10 though. Avispa also lost, when they travelled to Osaka. That too was a closely contested battle, but the home team proved to be the most efficient team, winning 2-0. This was Avispa’s 5th loss in 6 games, and proves that things change fast in J2.
Injured:
Vegalta: DF Yoshiaki Maruyama -regular sub, DF Kosuke Kitani - regular starter, DF Hiroyuki Shirai - regular starter, GK Junnosuke Schneider - important member, DF Shimpei Sayama - squad player
Avispa: MF Hokuto Nakamura- regular starter, DF Ceccoli - regular starter
Suspended:
Avispa: Df Tatsunori Yamagata - regular starter , MF Takanori Nunobe- regular starter
Vegalta: FW Hiroki Bandai - important player
In their 1st meeting, Vegalta fully deserved won 2-1 away after being 1-0 down by halftime. 2 goals in the middle if the 2nd half proved too much for the home team, and it was deserved as Vegalta outshot them 17-11. All previous meetings gives us 2-3-4 for Vegalta. Vegalta at home this year got 4-3-1, while Avispa away got 4-1-3. With Avispa’s poor form, I hold Vegalta as favorites here, but Vegalta as well haven’t been as good as usual lately. They are also without some important players, but they got decent back up all over the place. The game promises alot of goals, as both teams have impressed up front this season and historically we’ve seen some goals in these games as well. I’ll think all points will stay with Vegalta though.
Prediction Score: 3-1 ( Vegalta win, over 2,5 goals) ( 60-20-20)

Saturday, June 9, 2007

J.League 2 - Round 20 Preview





Cerezo Osaka
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Avispa Fukuoka
Cerezo didn’t play last round, so their last game was against Bellmare at home, where they lost 4-1. The scoreline doesn’t tell the full story though, as Cerezo outshot Bellmare 14-7 and should have won it easily according to play. Bellmare proved deadly effective though, and clinched the win. Avispa won 2-1 over Tokushima in an extremely dull encounter that provided few chances. Tokushima, as one should expect, approached the game with an ultra-defensive strategy, and focused on counter attacks. And it paid off as well, as in the 19th minute a Tokushima player was played free to put the visitors in the lead. Avispa replied just 2 minutes after though, but had to wait until the 78th minute for the 2nd goal. Avispa had 6 shots to Tokushima’s 3.
Their 1st meeting this season ended with a 2-2 draw in Fukuoka, where Cerezo actually were the better team. They outshot Avispa 11-7, and both should and could have scored another goal to win it. The teams have met only 3 times before, with 2 ending in a draw, and Avispa winning the 3rd. Cerezo’s home form has taken a dip, and they’ve lost 3 in a row now. All season, they got 3-2-4. Avispa has proven good away, with a 4-1-2 record so far. Cerezo got as many as 6 regulars out here, and almost all their offensive firepower are missing. The youngsters at Cerezo have seen alot of action cause of that, but as expected, they haven’t quite been able to fill the shoes of the missing players. A good example of that is their last game, which they dominated at times, but a lack of aggressiveness up front and inexperience saw Shonan steal the win, and while doing that, also putting 4 goals behind the Cerezo GK at the same time. A similar scenario might happen here, as Avispa is a very strong team and have proved themselves lethal in attack. I hold Avispa as favorites here, and the game looks set to promise some goals as well.
Prediction Result: Win for AVISPA

Kyoto Sanga F.C.
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Montedio Yamagata
Kyoto were beaten 2-0 last round when they travelled to league leaders Consadole Sapporo. Both Consadole goals came after errors in the Kyoto defence, and should have been avoided. Consadole were the better team though, and deserved the win. What’s worse for Kyoto is that their top goal-scorer and maybe most important player FW Andre is out for around 5 weeks due to an injury. Without him, they don’t look nearly as intimading up front, and it remains to be seen if his replament(s) can deliver while Andrè is absent. Kyoto weren’t totally lost at Consadole, and created enough chances to score a goal, if not more. All in all a deserved home win though. Montedio played lowly Thespa at home, where they had to settle for a draw after Thespa went 1-0 up early in the game. The match was levelled again just before the break, and in the 2nd half Montedio pushed forward all they had for their 2nd goal, but with no luck. The game ended 1-1, which is a result Thespa should find themselves most fortunate with. Montedio outshot them 11-5, and can only blame their ineffiency that they didn’t win.
Montedio gets a few players back from injury and suspensions, but new players are absent for this game. Their first meeting this season ended 1-1, where Montedio were marginally the better team. Kyoto were the team to break the deadlock though, going up 1-0 after only 8 minutes. Montedio didn’t equalize until late in the game, but fully deserved the point, if not more. Kyoto holds the edge over Montedio with 6-2-1 on all previous matches. Kyoto’s home form this season is 3-4-1, while Montedio got an impressive 5-1-2 away. Montedio have kept a clean sheet in 5 of their 8 away matches this season actually.Montedio holds the 2nd best defensive record in the league, only beaten by league leaders Consadole. For this game, their rock in defence Shogo Kobara returns as well. As both teams are missing some important players, and both teams on almost identical form, it’s a very open game. It’s the battle for 3rd, as the teams are only separated by the single point. With so much on stake here, as neither teams want to lose, i doubt we’ll see many goals. I rate Montedio slightly the more dangerous team and a narrow away win might be the result here. Either that or a draw, as I find it hard to see where Kyoto shall find the goals to win this without Andrè.
Prediction result: Win for MONTEDIO

Tokyo Verdy 1969
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Vegalta Sendai
Tokyo must find themselves very unlucky not to have gotten anything from their latest game, when they lost 0-1 to Ehime at home. Tokyo totally dominated the game, and should have scored 3-4 goals according to chances. Ehime on the other hand, got their goal on their only major chance in the game, and took an extremely fortunate win. Tokyo outshot Ehime 19-5, and should have prolonged their winning streak prior to this game to 4 games. Ehime’s goal came minutes into the 2nd half. Vegalta beat Bellmare 2-1 at home in a thrilling and very fast-paced match last round. Bellmare went 1-0 already in the 1st minute, but Vegalta were quick to reply, and by the 30th minute they were already 2-1 up. Both teams created their fair share of chances, with Vegalta just edging Bellmare out 16 to 14. All in all a deserved win, that took Vegalta back in to 2nd place, 2 points clear of Montedio.

Both teams are missing their fair share of players here, including their preferred goalkeepers. Tokyo, who recently swiched to a 3-5-2 formation are without 2 of their 3 regular defenders here, and we will see a ”brand new” defence. But that doesn’t necessarily means a bad thing, as the other defenders in the Tokyo squad are fully capable of stepping in, and in many fans minds, should have been there in the first place. Vegalta, who holds the record in both succesfull tackles made and shots on target taken so far, are also missing some vital members at the back. Offensive though, both teams look set to field their best strikers, and it’s the 2 highest scoring teams in the league that meets here.
Their first meeting this season ended a draw, 2-2 in Vegalta. Vegalta went up twice, only to see Tokyo level the score on both occasions. for long it looked like Vegalta were gonna win it though, as Tokyo’s last goal didn’t come before the 83rd minute. Tokyo were marginally the most dangerous team though, otshooting the hosts 18-14. All their previous meetings gives us 2-4-1 for Tokyo. Tokyo at home this season has a record of 5-0-4, in other words they vary alot. Vegalta are very good away, with 5-2-2 so far. Historically, these meetings provides some goals for both teams, and with both teams being so deadly up front, that looks set to continue here. Tokyo have been shaky at the back as well, and with both teams fielding a brand new back line here, plus their reserve keeper, it promises a high-scoring game. I hold Vegalta as favorites here, but as previously seen this season, anything can happen when Tokyo plays. I don’t see them win here though, and a win for Vegalta seems most probable.
Prediction Result: Win for VEGALTA
Sagan Tosu
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Consadole Sapporo
Sagan travelled to a injury-struck Mito last round, but must find themselves fortunate to return from there with all points. Mito was by far the better team, and both outshot and outplayed the visitors. But as often this season, Mito failed to capitalize on their chances, and Sagan’s lone goal was enough to secure the win for the visitors. This was Sagan’s 5th win in the last 6 games, and they look for sure to have found the form that took them 4th last season. They are now in joint 5th, only 2 points clear of 3rd place. With Consadole alone at the top, there are now 7 teams fighting for the other promotion spot and the playoff-place, and from Tokyo in 8th to Vegalta in 2nd, it’s only a 6 points difference. Consadole continuned their great run when they had Kyoto at home last round. With a 2-0 victory, they took their 6th win a row. The defence looked as solid as ever, and it was a deserved win for the home team. Consadole outshot Kyoto 10 to 8, and they scored 1 goal in each half.
In the first meeting this season, Consadole won 1-0 after an early goal. Consadole were by far the better team, but didn’t capitalize on their chances Consadole had 15 shots to Sagan’s 8, and Sagan got a player sent off just before the break as well. All their previous meetings gives us 7-1-8, and with a couple of exceptions, the games provided few goals. Consadole have their defence intact again here, but are still missing some players in midfield. Nishitani and Fujita were missing last game as well, and their replacements did a fine job.
Both teams are on great runs, and with a win here for Sagan, they might climb into top 3. Consadole are of course favorites though, but they might suffer with all their absent players here. A draw seems most probable, as both teams will focus on the defensive part here. I don’t think we’ll see many as goals either, and I hold Consadole as small favorites.
Prediction Result: Win for CONSADOLE
Shonan Bellmare
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Mito Hollyhock
Shonan comes from a narrow 2-1 defeat at Vegalta last round, where they fought hard and long for a point but ended up with nothing. Shonan broke the deadlock in the 1st minute of the game, but by the 30th minute Vegalta had scored 2. Both teams pushed forward for more goals, but were prevented by some good goalkeeping and sloppy finishing.
Shonan had a total of 14 shots, while Vegalta had 16.
Mito had Sagan at home, and as usual put up a good display only to see the visitors take all points. A 2nd string Mito squad looked really good, and they controlled the game. Sagan were both outplayed and outshot, but they scored on ther only real chance in the game. Mito’s problem clearly lies up front, as they have only scored 10 goals in their first 18 games so far.


Mito get a few players back from injury for this game, inluding their most dangerous striker and top goalscorer, Nishino.
In the first meeting this season between these teams, Shonan won 2-0 away. Mito had 2 goals wrongly disallowed, and were by far the better team that game. Mito outshot Shonan 13-8, and Shonan scored on their 2 only major chances for the whole game. All their previous meetings gives us 7-3-7. Shonan at home this season got 4-1-3, while Mito away got 1-3-4. Shonan are one of 3 teams at 27 points, and lies currently in 6th. They are very much still in the promotion race, and are consideres a dark horse by most pundits. IT will be interesting to see if they can keep the momentum up for the rest of the season.
For starters, they need to win here, which is something they practically shall too. Mito are the minnows of J.2, and is a club Shonan shall beat are they gonna hope for promotion. However, I don’t think we’ll see a big win here, as Mito’s gotten better defensively lately. Shonan as well has a very tough defence to break through. Either way, a win for Shonan.
Prediction Result: Win for SHONAN
Tokushima Vortis
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Thespa Kusatsu

Tokushima travelled to Fukuoka last round, and lost 2-1. Both teams failed to produce much of chances, and it was a pretty uniteresting game. Tokushima went up 1-0 in the 19th minute after a counter attack, and focused for most of the time on te defensive part of this game. Avispa equalized just minutes after though, and I guess it was deserved that the home team clinched the winner some 10 minutes from time. Thespa held out for a draw when they played Montedio away last round. Thespa went up 1-0 early in the game, but the scoreline was levelled again by hald time. Thespa were a bit lucky not to concede more goals, but they fought hard for their point. Montedio outshot them 11 to 5.
Their first meeting at Thespa was a dull encounter which ended 0-0. Neither teams created much up front, and Tokushima created 6 shots to Thespa’s 5. Tokushima holds the edge with 5-1-3 on all meetings. Tokushima has only 1-3-4 so far at home this season, while Thespa away got 2-3-3. Tokushima are the draw masters of J2, with a total of 6 drewn matches so far. They are only 3 points behind Thespa on the table. Neither teams are that dangerous up front, and both have scored less than a goal pr game so far. Tokushima’s been pretty decent defensively, while Thespa have conceded a bit more. I doubt we’ll see many goals here as well, and I don’t see Tokushima win it. A draw seems most probable, but an away win for Thespa as well might be the outcome here.
Prediction Result: Win for THESPA

Saturday, June 2, 2007

J League 2 Round 19 - Previews

Avispa Fukuoka
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Tokushima Vortis
Avispa had league leaders Consadole Sapporo at home last round, where they were unfortunate not to get anything from it. Consadole won 2-1 after a last minute goal by Ishii. Avispa went early up 1-0 after a nice goal from Lincoln, but only 2 minutes after the break, Consadole had levelled the score. Avispa created plenty of chances this game, and the usual so tight Consadole defence had some problems here. However, In-form Consadole clinched their 5th win in a row, while Avispa now have lost their last 4 games. Avispa outshout Consadole 16-12. Tokushima Vortis hosted the ”reborn” Tokyo Verdy in their last game, where they eventually lost 1-0. Neither teams created much up front, and it was a slow-paced game. A goal in the 30th minute for Tokyo proved to be the only one, leaving Tokushima in 11th.

In their previous 5 meetings, Avispa currently holds the edge with a 2-2-1 record. Avispa won the first enounter this season, 1-0 away. The game were pretty evenly contested, with both teams producing 12 shots. Avispa’s goal came 4 minutes from full time. Avispa’s home form this season is only 3-2-4, while Tokushima away has a decent 2-5-2. Tokushima must play without Kataoka and Kuno, which will be a big loss, as their probable replacements is some steps down in pure skills. Avispa needs a win here to keep their promotion-hopes alive which after 4 straight losses took a major blow lately. I expect a home win here, and high-scoring Avispa will probably get some goals as well. Tokushima have been decent defensively this season, but here they meet one of the best attacks in the league. Avispa are still without their firts choice in goal, and one can’t say his replacement has quite filled his shoes so far. The draw-masters of the league, Tokushima will probably go into this game with an ultra-defensive strategy, but if Avispa manages to score an early goal, the game might open up. Avispa usually starts their games well, and often take the lead. Therefore I’ll think we’ll see at least a couple of goals here, and a win for the home team.
Prediction Score: 2-1 / 3-1

Consadole Sapporo
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Kyoto Sanga F.C.
Consadole took their 5th win a row when they travelled all the way to the south of Japan to meet Avispa. Avispa went 1-0 up early in the game, but as usually Consadole fought back and with a 89th minute goal by the more and more impressive Ishii Consadole stole all points. Avispa created the most though, and should at least deserve a point. But with Consadole’s current form, and their ability to win close battles, they fought off the home team to now find themselves 10 points clear of 2nd place. Kyoto didn’t play, so their last game was at home against Ehime, 2 rounds ago. Kyoto won 2-1, after goals just before and after the break. Ehime got a player sent off in the 2nd half, and Kyoto controlled enough to get the victory, outshooting the visitors 15-7.

The teams met in the 1st game of the season, where Kyoto fully deserved won 2-0 at home. Kyoto outshot Consadole 14-5, and looked really good at times. That’s one of the only 2 losses Consadole have so far. In all their meetings, Kyoto are by far the dominant side, having a record of 6-3-0. Consadole has never beaten the visitors actually.
Consadole’s home form this year is an impressive 6-2-0, while Kyoto away got 5-1-2, which is pretty good as well. For this game, Consadole will be without Fujita and Caue in midfield, which will be a huge loss. Those 2 have been very good this year, and important to Consadole’s success. They have a pretty broad squad though, and will field a goof midfield for this game as well. Kyoto are in good form, with 3 wins in a row and currently lies in joint 2nd, with a game in hand. They are more than capable of upsetting the under-strenght home team here, and Kyoto have usually been very good against the better teams this season. The game doesnt promises to many goals though, with Consdaole having the best defence in the league by far. I don’t think Consadole will win this though, and a draw seems most probable. Kyoto might be the underdog here, but with the missing players of Consadole, plus the great record Kyoto has against Consadole, they might add another victory to that tally here. Few goals and probably a draw with Kyoto as most probable winners.

Prediction Score: 0-0 /0-1

Mito Hollyhock
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Sagan Tosu
Mito are still dead last in the league, and last round they travelled to Thespa where they lost 1-0 in an awful game with lots of wasted opportunities. Neither teams played good football at all, but Thespa had 1 good shot in the game which fortunate for them went in. Thespa had 12 shots in total to Mito’s 11. Mito had 2 important players substituted due to injuries, and their injury list looks very long now. Mito has one of the smallest teams in the league, and these injuries forces the club to field rookie players with no experience at all.
Sagan on the other hand looked very strong when they finished off Ehime ith a 2-0 victory away. Sagan were great for most of the game, controlling it and the victory could have been by a much bigger margin.Sagan’s 1st goal came midway through the 2nd half, and a minute from time they secured the win with another. Sagan had 19 shots to Ehime’s 7.

Sagan have an injury-free squad, while Mito as you can see have at least 5 regular starters out. In their first encounter Sagan ran riot and won 5-1. Already by the 30th minute Sagan were up 3-0, and controlled the game from there and in. We’ll probably see something similar here, with in-form Sagan winning big. History-wise, Mito holds the edge with a 6-7-5 record so far. Mito hasn’t won in sine 2005 though. Mito’s home form this season is a horrible 0-1-7, and they’ve only scored 2 goals in those games. Sagan away got 2-3-4, but 2-1-0 on their last 3. Sagan are now only 5 points clear 3rd place, and finally looks like the team that got them into a surprisingly high 4th last season. They will surely win this game, and are huge favorites. I think we’ll see a big win for the visitors here, in a high scoring game.
Prediction Score: 1-4

Montedio Yamagata
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Thespa Kusatsu
Montedio lost for the 1st time in 10 games last round when they travelled to Vegalta. Vegalta went up 1-0 early in the game, and by half time the score was 2-0. The game was quite evenly played, with Vegalta being slightly better, and much more efficient. With the loss, Vegalta regained 2nd position in front of Montedio on goal difference. Thespa won 1-0 against Mito in a horrible match where neither of the teams deserved to win. Both teams got to chances, but the finishing were awful. Thespa had one good shot for the whole game, which proved to be the difference.

2 first half goals from Montedio secured the win for them in the 1st encounter, which Montedio fully deserved to win. Montedio outshot the home home 13-6 and won the game easily. History matches gives us 5-3-1 for Montedio. Montedio at home this season got 3-4-1 so far, while Thespa away got a decent 2-2-3. Montedio are without their most important defender Kobara here, which might open things up in their usually so solid defence. These games usually provide some goals, and it seems likely we’ll see some here as well. I don’t rate Thespa for this game, and the most they can hope for is a draw. Montedio are big favorites of course, and i think we’ll see a home win as well.
Prediction Score: 3-1

Tokyo Verdy 1969
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Ehime FC
Tokyo seems to have gone through some kind of revival now, picking up 13 points from their last 5 games. Last round they won 1-0 after a first half goal which proved to be enough in a match few on chances. Tokyo now climbed to 6th, only 3 points clear of 2nd place.
Ehime were lucky not to lose by more than 2 goals when they played against Sagan at home. Sagan were by far the best team, and Ehime struggled for most of the game and didn’t create much up front. Ehime now seems stuck in 12th place already 6 points behind Tokushima in 11th.

In their 1st meeting this season, Tokyo comfortably won 3-1 away. Ehime never stood a chance as Tokyo dominated from beginning to end more or less. Tokyo holds the upper hand in total as well, with a 3-1-1 record.Tokyo at home this season got 5-0-3, while Ehime got 2-1-5. As usually in Tokyo’s games, this one as well promises alot of goals. With Ehime’s poor defensive record as well, it should be play-time for the Tokyo strikers. Tokyo had a horrible run in april and early may, but they now seem to have sorted out those problems. The big and physical Tokyo might cause big problems for the young and inexperienced Ehime defenders. I’ll predict some goals for Tokyo, and a big win.
Prediction Score: 3-0

Vegalta Sendai

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Shonan Bellmare
Vegalta climbed back into 2nd with a win over Montedio at home last round. Before that, Vegalta had lost 4 out of the last 5 games. The Montedio game were pretty even, but two 1st half goals by the home side proved to be enough. Shonan won 4-1 at Cerezo last round, but were actually quite lucky to win at all. Cerezo outshot them 14-7, but for once the Shonan attackers proved very efficient. Shonan currentyl lies in 5th, just 2 points behind their opponents here.


The teams met in round 1, where Vegalta won 2-1 away. After Shonan went up 1-0 after only 5 minutes, Vegalta fought hard to get back in the game and all in all it was a deserved away win. all previous meetings gives us 7-3-3 for Vegalta, and Vegalta have won the last 3 meetings. Vegalta at home this season got only 3-3-2, while Shonan away got 4-2-3.
Both teams have been very deadly up front this season, scoring plenty of goals. Historically as well, these meetings provide lots of goals. Shonan are still without their rock at the back, Jean while Vegalta are without 2 of their regular 4 starting defenders. I think Shonan are capable of getting a result here, but i still holds Vegalta as small favorites. Under the teams current form, a draw seems most likely though. The game will probably provide some goals, as both are very fond of attacking and missing their best players in defence.

Prediction Score: 2-2/3-2