Monday, August 20, 2007

Natsuyasumi

So, time for summer vacation in Tokyo and I won't be updating my blog for the next 2 weeks.
Cerezo will only be playing one match in that period, so it's not really a problem :)

Sunday, August 19, 2007



Cerezo Osaka
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Sagan Tosu

Miyamoto and Ze Carlos is of course a big loss to Cerezo, and it looks like Niwa will take Ze Carlos’s place, while DF/DM Chiba goes in for Miyamoto in the middle. Neither are that offensive players compared to the ones thei’yre replacing, and it’s an indication that Cerezo is approaching this game with a little bit more defensive stance as usual.
The first meeting, in round 7, ended with a 3-0 win at home for Cerezo. After a horrible start to the season, Cerezo finally showed some of their potential against the disappointing Sagan Tosu. It was a pretty one-sided game, and Cerezo dominated the play. The very talented youngsters Kakitani and Fujimoto were the stars of the show,combining well with their offensive play( neither of them are set to see much playing time this time around though). Ze Carlos, Sakemoto and Furuhashi were the scorers for Cerezo, who outshot their opponents 17-6. The 2nd meeting ended quite different, with Sagan winning 1-0 at home after a 88th minute goal. In fact, the loss resulted in former Cerezo coach Satoshi Tsunami losing his job, with current coach Levir Culpi immediately taking over. The game itself were quite even, where both teams created a fair share of chances. Cerezo came closest on several occasions, but looked like they were lacking spirit and will to win. Cerezo still outshot Sagan 15-13, and the late Sagan goal was a big blow for Cerezo.
On the positive side, the change of coach proved to be a good thing, as Cerezo looks a better team now than with Tsunami in charge.
Cerezo’s home form is great, with 5-0-1 on last 6. If it wasn’t for the horrible form away, Cerezo would very much still be among the contenders for promotion. As it stands now, it doesn’t really seem that Cerezo are good enough or stable enough to make progress in the table. Sagan’s form away is 1-2-3, and they as well have the same problem as Cerezo. Sagan are in a much better position though, with just as many points as Cerezo, but with 2 games less played. But with oly 4 away wins this season for Sagan, they surely faces a difficult task here. I think home difference will tip this one into Cerezo’s favour, as they have been really good on home soil lately. The absent players is a blow, but the replacements isn’t all bad. Although Cerezo have scored a few goals lately, most of their home-matches have ended with with less than 2 goals. The same goes with Sagan’s matches away.
Cerezo win for sure :D


Here's the probable Cerezo squad:




Avispa Fukuoka
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Montedio Yamagata

The first meeting between these teams ended a 1-1 draw in Fukuoka, after the home team equalized in the 89th minute through Alex. It was a low-speed match, where neither of the teams created much chances. In the 29th minute, Montedio surprisingly took the lead on what was the first attempt on goal of the match. Topscorer Toyoda, who’s currently out with an injury, scored the opening goal. After the break, things got a little better, but the equalizer wouldn’t come before in the dying minutes. Montedio outshot the home team 6-5.
The 2nd match, Avispa picked up a nice 2-1 away win. 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’s home form of late is impressive, with 5-0-1 on last 6. They got a goal difference of 11-3 from those matches. Montedio away got 1-3-2. The 2 meetings previous this season is the only meetings recorded between them. Montedio have only lost one out of the last 6,and are on an improving form. Avispa were kind of lucky not to lose away last round to Mito, but one the last 5 they got an impressive 4-1-0. Avispa currently lies in 3rd place, and are in a good position over its nearest competitors, with a game in hand. Montedio are stuck in the middle, and don’t look to neither fall or rise on the table in the near future. I think Avispa will bounce back from their relative poor outing in Mito last round, and overcome the visiting Montedio side. However, Avispa are not really a good home team , and has actually taken just a many points away as home. Here, they will get back Alex from suspension though, and he was clearly missed in Mito. Even so, i don’t think they will score that many goals here, as the improving Montedio defence have proven a tough nut for their recent opponents ( 6 conceded goals in 6 games).
Still, Avispa will win it.

Consadole Sapporo
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Shonan Bellmare

The loss of Davi and Soda for Consadole will weaken the team, but on the positive side, the players earn a well-deserved ”rest”, and other players get the chance to gel in with the team.
The first meeting this season was a really dull encounter, as both teams went for defensive strategies, focusing mainly on shutting down the opponent. Consadole being the home team, one would think they would dominate the game, but in fact Shonan had most chances, and also came closest to breaking the deadlock. But overall, it was not much of an entertaining match, and Bellmare outshot Consadole 10-6. The 2nd meeting,
Consadole came from behind to win 2-1 at Bellmare 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.
Consadole’s home form is good, but not great, with 2-4-0 on last 6. Shonan away got 3-0-3. Consadole have been conceding more goals then usual lately, but then again, they’ve improved on the scoring too. But they got still by ar the best defensive record in the league, with Shonan on 2nd. Consadole have now gone 11 games without losing, and on the last 3 home and away, they got 3 wins and 9-2 in goal difference. Shonan varies more, but got a decent 4-1-1 on last 6. All previous meetings gives us 3-1-2 for Consadole. Consadole are of course big favorites here, and even without their 2 suspended players, they will field a very good starting line-up.


Tokyo Verdy 1969
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Kyoto Sanga F.C.


Kyoto took a very impressive 3-1 victory at Tokyo Verdy in the 1st meeting.. The game itself was evenly played, but Kyoto turned out to be the more effective team. The brazilian strikers Andrè and Paulinho especially turned in great games. By half-time, the score was deadlocked at 1-1, but 2 quick goals by MF Tokushige, who with that turned out to be the hero of the game, sealed the win for Kyoto. Tokyo outshot Kyoto 10-8 though.
The 2nd game went quite different, as Tokyo ended their dreadful 7-lost-games-in-a-row streak. The game was even, but Tokyo FW Hulk made the difference with an impressive hat-trick. However, it wasn’t as one-sided as the scoreline suggests, and in fact it was Kyoto who took the early lead through Andrè. Tokyo outshot Kyoto 14-13 though, and all in all deserved to win. Tokyo’s home form is a decent 4-1-1, whole Kyoto away got 4-0-2 now. All previous meetings gives us 3-0-1 for Tokyo. Kyoto are out of form, only taking 1 point in their last 3 matches. Tokyo aren’t that good themselves, with 4 points from the lastest 4 games. This is a pretty open match, and it goes down to who has a good day at work. These teams might have the 2 most talented and most expensive squads in the league actually. Historically, Tokyo holds the edge over Kyoto, and that as well as home-advantage makes them small favorites. I think we’re in for some goals though, as both usually scores a few, and both teams games have an average of well over 3.0 goals pr game.
Tokyo will win this.
Vegalta Sendai
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Thespa Kusatsu


The first meeting this season ended 1-1, after Thespa robbed a point with a goal in the 80th minute. Lopes had given Vegalta the lead 15 minutes into the 2nd half, after failing to score on any of their big chances earlier in the game. Thespa had to open up a little now that they were trailing, and Vegalta kept pushing for more goals. Against the play however, Thespa were the one to score, and with that the game ended 1-1. Vegalta outshot Thespa 20-8, and deserved the win.
The 2nd game went better for Vegalta’s sake, as they outplayed Thespa once again, but with the difference being that this time they got the result the deserved. Thespa played home, 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. Again, it was a big difference in terms of qualit among the teams.
Vegalta’s home form is only 3-1-2 of lately, while Thespa got an horrible 0-3-3 away. Vegalta have never lost against Thespa, and the total record is 4-2-0 for Vegalta.The home side’s form is not as good as it should be, with only 1-2-3 on last 6 matches. However, things are much worse for Thespa, who now have gone 15 matches without winning. I don’t really see how Thespa can manage a win here, let alone score a goal. Now, Ehime managed 3 last round, but I think that was a mere ”accident” from the Vegalta defence, and probably won’t happen again. Vegalta scores much more goals away than home, so a low-scoring match seems probable.Vegalta have only scored 7 goals in their last 6 at home actually.
Most likely a Vegalta win.
Tokushima Vortis
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Mito Hollyhock


The first meeting between these teams was a very dull 0-0 match. Although both teams tried to create things up front, the lack of abilities shone through, and it turned out to be an easy task for both team’s defenders to prevent goals. This was only Mito’s 2nd point at this stage of the season ( round 6), and with that an overall positive result for them. Tokushima outshot Mito 11-8.
The 2nd meeting as well ended a draw, this time with the score 1-1. Tokushima started the game best, and it was deserved when they scored the opening goal in the 24th minute through Kleberson. They pushed forward for the rest of the 1st half, trying to get a 2nd goal, but at half time it was still 1-0. Mito looked better after the break, and took more and over. By the time they scored, in the 70th minute, Mito had already have many big chances so it was a deserved goal they scored. All in all, Mito were slightly better than Tokushima this match despite being outshot 13-10.
Tokushima’s home form is nothing less than horrible! 0-0-6 and 1-16 in goal difference. Mito away got 1-2-3, which is pretty good for a team like them. Mito has a very good record against their fellow minnows, with 3-2-0 on 5 previous meetings so far. Tokushima have lost 8 out of their latest 9 matches, and if their poor form continues, it won’t be long before Mito pass them on the table. Mito got 0-4-1 on last 5, and have patched up a very solid defence lately. They still doesn’t score much goals, but salvaging a point is not bad.
With Tokushima’s horrible form, I hold Mito as favorites here, cause of their history against Tokushima as well as their superior form . Tokushima have only scored 6 goals at home this season, with a 1-4-10 record. Mito have been decent away actually, and I think we’ll see a narrow away win here as well.
MITO win.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Match Reports - round 34

Shonan Bellmare - Cerezo Osaka 1 - 0
Cerezo lost this round as well, and looks to be too much behind to be a real threat to the other teams fighting for promotion. Shonan on the other hand, who played their first game for 3 weeks, won to go 6th in the table, and with 2 games in hand have a realistic shot at catching the 3rd place. It’s a very tight battle now for the playoff spot, and from 3rd to 8th it’s only a 7 points difference. Among the top 8, Cerezo and Sagan looks most likely to be the first teams to drop out. Shonan isn’t regarded a top contended either, as they are not really much of a ”glamorous” squad. But the results speak for itself, and despite some down-periods, they’ve picked up lots of points so far this season.
The match itself was quite even, and still deadlocked after the first half. Both teams looked sharp in defence, and it could go either way. Then, only 10 minutes into the 2nd half, Kato of Shonan finally opened the scoring with a nice finish to make it 1-0 to Shonan. This happened in a good Shonan period, and it looked to be heading for a home win. Cerezo came close a couple of times later in the game, but for the 14th time this season they had to see themselves beaten. With that many losses, and just as many wins, they’ve shown too little consistency to be a serious contender for promotion. However, on their day, they can be one of the best teams in the league. Shonan outshot Cerezo 14-9 this game, and it would be fair to say it was a deserved home win.

Ehime FC - Vegalta Sendai 3 - 0
Ehime took a very surprising 3-0 win against Vegalta at home. It was top vs bottom and the highest scoring team against the least-scoring one. Against all logic though, Ehime scored as many as 3 goals which is just as many as they’ve scored in their latest 8 games. The first goal came midway through the 1st half, as FW Susume Oki broke through to slash it home. Vegalta looked stunned by the goal, and needed some time to get back into the match. As it happened, they did create som big chances at the end of the first half, and if they had scored the game would probably have looked much different. Ehime doubled their lead right after the break, as centreback Kondo rose to head it past the Vegalta keeper. This was a major blow for Vegalta, who were looking for the equalizer. As it happened, they didn’t manage to create much as Ehime packed their defence. As Vegalta pushed on, Ehime scored their 3rd on a counter attack in the 83rd minute through Josimar, who had come off the bench to replace scorer Oki. Nothing more happened, and it was deserved as Ehime outshot Vegalta 14-9.

Kyoto Sanga F.C. - Consadole Sapporo 2 - 3
Kyoto just lost out to Consadole in a surprisingly high-scoring and entertaining match yesterday. Consadole opened the ball through Nishijima in the 38th minute, who just returned from injury to this game. Up till then, Consadole had been making the most chances, pressing for an early goal. Kyoto didn’t need much time to equalize though, as Paulinho scored from a PK to make it 1-1 a minute from half-time. Versatile midfielder made it 2-1 to Kyoto in the 61st minute, and the game looked to be tipping into Kyoto’s favour. Consadole made some chances in midfield though, as they put in Ishii for the under-performing Nakayama as well as bringing on Caue. It didn’t take much time before it payed off, as Consadole topscorer Davi made it 2-2 in the 71st minute. And just 5 minutes later, substitute Ishii put Consadole ahead again, which also proved to be the decisive goal. Both teams had 14 shots each, but overall Consadole were the best team, and deserved to win it.

Mito Hollyhock - Avispa Fukuoka 1 - 1
Both teams were left disappointed with a draw in the clash between Mito and Avispa. Mito for being the best team overall and having most chances, while Avispa for losing 2 points to a inferior opposition. The game itself was pretty well played, with good defending from both teams. Surprisingly, Mito withstood everything Avispa threw at them and looked for once pretty solid at the back. So, it was Mito who opened the scoring 18 minutes into the 2nd half through substitute Shingyoji. His piledriver from long range bounced off a defender, and left the Avispa keeper stranded for Shingyoji to put in the rebound. Mito looked to be in control at this stage, and they produced even more chances and should have made it a 2 goal lead. But with a minute left to play, Nunobe poked in the equalizer for Avispa to save the single point for them . Avispa were outshot 18-10 though, and might have gotten more than they deserved from this. Since all the other top teams bar Consadole dropped points, Avispa still find themselves in 3rd place.

Sagan Tosu - Tokyo Verdy 1969 3 - 1
Tokyo’s mediocre form continued when they played Sagan away, who produced a very nice 3-1 win over their highly-rated visitors. Sagan made a shock-start, and were up 2-0 already in the 9th minute. Sagan’s prolific goalscorer Fujita scored his 19th goal in the first attack of the match. Just 8 minutes later, DF Hidaka doubled Sagan’s lead. Tokyo look stunned from this, and although they put in a reasonable good effort in fighting their way back into the game, it weren’t enough, as all they managed was 1 goal by Hulk ( in the 30th minute). Sagan took more over as the 2nd half started, and on the hour mark korean import Kim made it 3-1 with a nice shot. The tempo slowed down after that, and although Tokyo made some offensive changes they didn’t manage to reduce Sagan’s 2 goal lead. Sagan had a total of 13 shots to Tokyo’s 14, but overall Sagan deserved to win.

Thespa Kusatsu - Montedio Yamagata 1 - 1
In the least ”fancy” game of the round, Montedio travelled to Thespa where the teams shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw. Montedio were slight favorites, as Thespa’s form were anything but good, going 14 ( now 15) games without winning. But, it was Thespa that opened the scoring late in the 1st half. FW and topscorer Takada got loose to finish off a nice move in the 41st minute to make it 1-0 to the hosts. After the break, Thespa tried to defend their 1 goal lead, and Montedio put them under big pressure for long parts of the half. It took a while before they managed to equalize though, as with only 4 minutes left to play subsitute Yokoyama finally overcame the Thespa keeper. If any, Montedio deserved to win this, but a draw is a fair result as well. It’s result neither of the teams can be thrilled about, but not losing is important as well. Montedio outshot Thespa 13-9.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

J.League 2 round 34 preview



Shonan Bellmare
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Cerezo Osaka
Shonan didn’t play last round, and since the game against Sagan were cut short due to bad weather, they haven’t played a full match in over 3 weeks. Their last game was against Tokushima at home, where they won 2-0 afterTokushima got 2 players sent off. Tokushima must find themselves lucky not to have lost by a bigger margin, as Shonan outplayed them all through the match, even before the red cards. It was still deadlocked by halftime though, and the biggest we saw before the break was the red card of Tokushima striker Kobayashi. Tokushima were now forced back on the field, and as they tried to defend with all their might, Shonan scored 2 quick goals some time into the 2nd half. And it became worse, as Andrè also was sent-off, with 20 minutes left to play. Shonan were unlucky not to score more goals after that, and they outshot Tokushima 22-9.


Shonan won the 1st meeting this season 2-1. Shonan took the lead already in the 5th minute, and looked very strong both defensively and in attack this match. Cerezo looked like they lacked a plan when they tried to build up attacks, which resulted in very few chances. On the onyl big chance they, Ale struck to find the net in the 28th minute to make it 1-1. For long it looked like it were going to end a draw, before Shonan scored their 2nd with a minute left to play. One can’t argue that it wasn’t deserved, as Shonan had the most chances and also defended well. Cerezo did a reasonable good job in defence, but such poor play in attack was probably the main reason why former coach Tsunami were sacked.
It didn’t go much better for Cerezo the 2nd time out, as they lost 4-1 at home. However, this time, the problem didn’t lie in their offensive play, as they created lots of chances and should have gotten a few more goals here if the finishing had been better. they played horrible in defence though, and let Shonan score pretty much everytime they had a chance. Shonan scored 2 goals in the middle of the 1st half, against the play. Cerezo geared up after the break, but as they failed to capitalise on their chances, as well as Shonan adding their 3rd through playmaker Adiel, the game seemed lost. Cerezo got one back through Yasuhito Morishima, but it was only a consolation goal as Shonan added their 4th just 5 minutes later. Cerezo outshot Shonan 14-7, despite losing so big.
Shonan got 3-1-2 at home in their last 6, while Cerezo got 2-1-3 away. Cerezo have been very good at home of late, but too much varied results away has put them too far behind the teams in the front. Shonan got 3-1-1 on last 5, but remember it’s around 3 weeks since they last played a full match, which is positive on one side, as they’re fully rested. But on the other hand, they’re probably not 100% match fit. Cerezo have met all the top 4 teams after another now, and have 2-0-2 on those. They’ve lost big in their last 2 away matches against Tokyo and Consadole. I don’t trust Cerezo away here, and rates Shonan as favorites, mostly due to home-advantage but also because of recent meetings. This game doesn’t promises many goals though, as Shonan is a very defensive team and Cerezo not scoring many goals away. It’s very open, and both teams are still in the race for promotion. Cerezo HAS to win it though, to stay there, while Shonan also need a win to catch up with the teams in front ( despite having 2 games in hand).
Unfortunately, I’ll think Cerezo will lose.

The other matches:

Ehime FC
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Vegalta Sendai


Vegalta get’s important defender Shirai back for this one, which might help tighten things up in a of lately shaky Vegalta defence.

The first meeting between them ended with a 4-0 away win for Vegalta. However, the game wasn’t as one sided as that, and in fact Ehime outshot Vegalta 15-13. Vegalta took an early lead in the 19th minute through Hiroki Bandai against the play. Uptil then, Ehime had been the most creative team, and came close on a couple of occasions. But although being outshot, Vegalta were generally the better team, and the difference in quality tipped the game into Vegalta’s favour. Bandai made it 0-2 6 minues after the break, before Lopes and Nakashima both scored late to make it 0-4. Ehime fought hard, but their lack of skill were too present against a team like Vegalta, who at that stage was in killer-form.
It didn’t go much better the 2nd time out, as they lost 3-0 away. This was a much more one-sided contest, and although Ehime had some shots, none of them looked to threaten the goalkeeper. Vegalta took the lead right before the break through Ryan Yong Gi, and from that moment on looked like winning it. Vegalta pushed and pushed for the whole first half, but a for once tough Ehime defence denied them any big chances. To get a goal right before the break must have been relieving for the home team, as they could relax more in the 2nd.
!5 minutes after the break, Vegalta topscorer Lopes steered home a cross to make it 2-0. With Ehime now forced to take more chances forward, things opened up on the wings for Vegalta, which they exploited well. With a minute left to play, midfielder Sugai made it 3-0 and took away all doubt. Vegalta outshot Ehime 18-10. With those victories, Vegalta now have 5-1-0 against Ehime in all matches. In Ehime, Vegalta have won 3 out of 3 possible. Ehime’s home form is so-so, with 1-3-2 on last 6. They’ve only managed to score 3 goals in those matches, but with only 5 conceded it isn’t all bad. Vegalta away have been varying lately, and got 3-1-2 on last 6, with goals scoring in both ends. Ehime hasn’t won in 7 matches now, and looks really out of shape. They’ve improved in defence though, and have proved a hard opponent for many teams to score against. Vegalta have only won 1 out of the last 5, and have been struggling as well.
I rate Vegalta as favorites here though, with their perfect record and difference in sheer quality.
Only once has there been under 2,5 goals between these teams, in a 1-1 draw in 2006. I think we’re in for a bunch of goals this time as well, despite the improvement of the Ehime defence. Ehime often tends to lose it against big teams, and if they concede one, the next one is always ”around the corner”.
Win for Vegalta.

Kyoto Sanga F.C.
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Consadole Sapporo


Kyoto won quite easily 2-0 in the opening match of the season, after goals from Andre and Paulinho. Consadole looked far from the team that went unbeaten for 14 games or so after losing their opening match, and Kyoto had a relative easy task defeating them. Andre opened his account in the 15th minute with a nice goal, which was one of the first big chances in the game. Consadole held their renown ultra-defensive stance, but as they didn’t manage to produce anything up front, they were forced to loosing things up a little in the back. But the tactical change didn’t pay off, and Kyoto doubled their lead through Paulinho some 20 times into the 2nd half. In fact, Consadole didn’t challenge the Kyoto keeper for the entire match, and only had 5 shots ( to Kyoto’s 14) for the whole game. A well deserved win.
The roles were switched the 2nd time around, as Consadole was now the team to win 2-0 at home. It wasn’t as one sides as the first battle though, and Kyoto could well have gotten a point from this. Consadole took the lead in the 37th minute through Genki Nakayama, which were the only goal before the break. Around the hour mark, Bruno Quadros, who most likely won’t play tomorrow’s match, doubled the lead. Kyoto had several chances to reduce, but good goalkeeping from Takagi in the Consadole goal denied them any goals. Consadole outshot Kyoto 10-8, and all in all it was deserved.
Kyoto’s home record is very good, with 4-2-0 on last 6. Consadole away got an even more impressive 5-0-1. The 2 meetings earlier this season is the only times they’ve met actually. Consadole got two 3-0 wins in a row now, and hasn’t lost for 11 matches. That’s only marginally better than Kyoto, who gots 8-2-1 in last 11.
This is the 2 best teams in the league that’s meeting, and it’s very open who will win it. Both teams can afford to lose, as neither is under direct threat of losing their position.I hold Kyoto as favorites though, mostly due to home advantage, and the fact that they’re in the ”pursuit” position. I doubt we will see many goals though, as both teams have really good defences ( although Kyoto might struggle without Quadros. On the positive side though, Nishijima returns to take his place) and probably won’t risk too much up front.
Narrow Kyoto win.
Mito Hollyhock
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Avispa Fukuoka


The loss of Alex due to suspension is a blow, but in Hayashi Avispa got a decent replacement.
Avispa won very easily the first match, 4-1 away. Avispa were 3-0 up already by 20 minutes, after 2 goals from Lincoln and one from Alex. By then, the game were already lost for Mito, but that didn’t prohibit them from giving their best as they tried to fight their way back into the game. They never really got close though, as Avispa made it 4-0 just a couple of minutes into the 2nd half. Mito got one back through now injured Jun Muramatsu, but it was too little too late for the home team. Still, credit to Mito for putting in a nice effort in the 2nd half, even when the game were already lost. Avispa outshot Mito 14-8.
Things didn’t go much better for Mito the 2nd meeting, as they lost 3-0 away.
Avispa dominated from the start, and it only a matter of time before we saw the first goal. Tanaka was the man to break the deadlock, as he netted in the opening goal in the 19th minute. Lincoln made it 2-0 after 33 minutes, and Avispa were in complete control of the game. Mito improved a little after the break, but it wasn’t enough to prevent Alex score Avispa’s 3rd goal in the 54th minute. Not much more happened besides some squandered chances for Avispa, and they took 3 more points in a very impressive manner. Avispa outshot Mito 16-5. That’s the only meetings between them so far.
Mito’s home form is 1-1-4, and they got a goal difference of 5-8 on those matches, which isn’t too bad defensively for Mito’s sake. Avispa away got 4-1-1, and looks really hot at the moment. Before losing 2-0 against Tokyo last round, Mito had 3 draws in a row, which is their longest unbeaten streak this season. They weren’t all bad against Tokyo either, but deserved to lose. Avispa now have 4 nice wins in a row, and on the last 8 they got 7-1-0 (one loss against Consadole away).
There’s no doubt Avispa are big favorites here, and although Mito have played some decent football recently, they meet here a team that’s in great form, as well as playing a style of football Mito has struggled against in the past.
Easy win for Avispa?
Sagan Tosu
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Tokyo Verdy 1969


Sagan won the first meeting 2-1 at home, despite coming under massive pressure for long periods of time. Sagan took the lead right before the break through their topscorer Fujita, whic proved to be the only goal in the 1st half. Shin Kanazawa equalized rigt after the break though for Tokyo Verdy. Now Tokyo looked the team most likely to win it, as they had several chances after their opening goal. Sagan scored another though, around the 60th minute to go 2-1 up. The play shifted from side to side for the rest of the game, but as we saw no more goals, the points stayed in Sagan. Sagan had 12 shots to Tokyo’s 13. This was in the middle of Tokyo’s horrendous losing streak, and they didn’t exactly had their luck with them.
Things went much better in the 2nd meeting, as Tokyo easily won 3-1 at home. Ono gave Tokyo the lead in the 3rd minute on what was the first chance of the game. Tokyo took control pretty early in the game, and always looked the most likely team to score. They were haltered when Fujita scored again to make it 1-1 in the 22nd minute on on of very few Sagan visits up front. Tokyo regained their lead right at the break through Funakoshi. The 2nd half was jsut as one-sided as the first, and although Tokyo had to wait until the 89th minute for their 3rd goal ( by Hulk), their lead never looked like being under threat. Tokyo outshot Sagan 19-5 and totally deserved the win.
Sagan got a decent 4-0-2 at home on last 6, while Tokyo got 3-2-1 away. All previous meetings gives us 2-1-3 for Sagan. Sagan have varied alot in recent matches, but have 2-1-0 on last 3. Tokyo got 6-3-1 on last 11 total, and looks to be in good form.
This is a very open match that really can go both ways. Both teams are fond of attacking, and not particularly strong in defence, which should open things up in both ends. Also, some important members in defense is missing for both teams. I think Sagan with it’s home advantage will manage not to lose this one, but Tokyo have showed some good form lately. A draw seems the most probable result though, and none of the teams can afford to lose. If Sagan wins it’s 2 games in hand, they will have as many points as Tokyo. I’ll give Sagan the tip due to home advantage.


Thespa Kusatsu
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Montedio Yamagata


Montedio got some problems in defence now, with 3 regulars out.
Last round I wrote that Thespa’s new FW Careca was out for 2 months with an injury. It seems his injury wasn’t that serious, and he even came on as a substitute last match. He’s not destined to start yet though, so we’ll see how fit he is.
Montedio won the first meeting pretty convincingly 2-0 away. Both of Montedio’s goals came in the middle of the first half, and Thespa never really looked creating much trouble for the visiting team. Montedio were on a run at this stage, and won pretty much everything. They outshot Thespa 13-6 and fully deserved the win. The 2nd match ended 1-1, after Montedio came back from 1 down with a minute left to play. The game didn’t produce many chances, but Montedio looked the most dangerous team. IT was surprisingly Thespa who took the lead with 20 minutes left to play, and after their goal, they defended with all their might to keep it like that. Montedio managed to equalize in the 89th minute, but probably should have gotten the win as well. Montedio outshot Thespa 11-5.
All meetings gives us 1-2-3 for Thespa. Thespa’s home form is a stuttering 0-1-5, and with 1-13 in goal difference. Montedio isn’t that good themselves, but got 1-2-3 away with 4-8 in goal difference. As you can see, neither of the teams are well-known for scoring much goals, and it looks set for a low-scoring contest. Montedio got 2-2-1 on their last 5, and has improved a little lately. Thespa have now gone 14 games without winning, and looks in really bad form at the moment.
I hold Montedio as favorites here, as i don’t really see where Thespa will get their goals from, despite being up against a patched-up Montedio defence. Montedio won’t score many goals themselves i think, but 1 or 2 will probably be enough.
Montedio should win this one.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Round 33 - Match reports

Last round’s match reports:

Consadole Sapporo - Cerezo Osaka 3 - 0


Without really dominating, Consadole won 3-0 against Cerezo last round. Although Consadole looked the more dangerous team for most of the game, it wasn’t as one-sided as the score presumes. Actually, the teams had an even amount of shots, with 10 each.
Consadole took an early lead through their young playmaker Fujita, who poked in a rebound from the Cerezo keeper. That was the first real chance of the game. The rest of the half swung both ways, but as neither of the teams managed to score, the score was still 1-0 by half-time.
It didn’t took Consadole long to double that though, as Consadole topscorer Davi also scored from a rebound in the 46th minute. That was the worst possible start for Cerezo, who were chasing an equalizer. As it happened, the Cerezo players seemed to give up, and Consadole took more and more over the play. Their 3rd goal came in the 58th minute, through striker Nishitani, which literally killed the game off.
Cerezo’s coach Levir Culpi, had to sit in the stands due to a suspension. and whether or not that was the cause of the lacklustre performance of Cerezo is hard to say. But they didn’t look as good as they have the last couple of months.
Consadole look rock-solid in defence, and notched up their 2nd 3-0 win in a row. With Kyoto only managing a draw against Thespa at home, Consadole now leads by 7 points, and look destined for promotion.

Tokushima Vortis - Vegalta Sendai 1 - 2
Vegalta took a pretty comfortable and much-needed win away at Tokushima last round, despite going 1 down early in the game. Hasegawa scored his first goal of the season in the 10th minute to make it 1-0 for Tokushima. It was against as the play, as Vegalta had already had a couple of big chances before that. Tokushima took a more defensive stance to the game after that, trying to protect their lead. Vegalta pushed forward for an equalizer but by half time the score was still 1-0 to Tokushima.
Vegalta continued pressing after the break, and when DF Chiba headed home the equalizer in the 51st minute the players look relieved, after pushing so hard since the early goal.
Tokushima kept defending with all their might, and didn’t create a thing for the entire 2nd half. Therefore, it was fully deserved that Lopes scored the winning goal for Vegalta with only 5 minutes left to play. Vegalta outshot Tokushima 16-4, and Tokushima didn’t deserve much from such a poor outing. Tokushima look stuck in 12th, and only have Mito behind them in the table. Vegalta still lies in 4th, and is very much still among the favorites for promotion/ playoff.

Avispa Fukuoka - Ehime FC 2 - 0
Avispa might turn out to be Vegalta’s main rival (along with Tokyo Verdy) for the 3rd place which gives playoff. They didn’t have much problems overcoming Ehime at home, and won deservedly 2-0 in front of 11 000 spectators.
The first half wasn’t that thrilling, and with few chances for both teams. Ehime had some counter-attacks that looked dangerous, but they lacked the skills to convert them into any goals. Avispa as well came close on a couple of occasions, and when they finally scored in the 44th minute though MF Miyazaki you can say it was deserved. Avispa topscorer ( and 2nd in J2) Alex scored his 18th goal of the season 9 minute into the 2nd half to double Avispa’s lead. That virtually killed off the game, and Ehime didn’t look being able to get one back. Avispa seemed to cool down things as well, and not much more happened. Avispa outshot Ehime 14-8 and fully deserved the win.

Kyoto Sanga F.C. - Thespa Kusatsu 1 - 1
Kyoto threw away 2 points against Thespa last round, which might prove to be vital at the end of the season. Kyoto didn’t look by far as good as in recent matches, and met surprisingly good opposition in struggling Thespa. For the 3rd time this season, Kyoto struggled to break down the Thespa defence, and this game looked much the same as the first encounter, which also ended 1-1.
Kyoto were overall the better team, but their attacking play lacked creativity and a plan. Thespa had their chances as well, but were easily handled by Hirai in the Kyoto goal.
The 2nd half saw the return of highly regarded striker Andrè, and he immediately marked himself with a yellow card. More positive things were to come though from him though, as he finally broke the deadlock in the 76th minute to take Kyoto 1-0 up. That was Andrè’s 10th goal in 16 starts, and when he’s injury-free, he adds a new depth to the Kyoto attack.
Thespa didn’t gave up though, and as in the 1st meeting this season, they equalized late in the game to see it end 1-1. Some poor defending let FW Takada score his 4th goal of the season. Kyoto outshot Thespa 15-10, but played below par this match. They are trailing Consadole by 7 points now, but got 6 points down to 3rd place, so for now things look good for them.

Montedio Yamagata - Sagan Tosu 1 - 3
Led by an inspiring Yoshihito Fujita Sagan took a very important win against Montedio. With 2 goals here Fujita now has a total of 16 goals this season, which is almost half of Sagan’s total tally of 35. The first half saw little action and few chances, and it look liked the teams were testing their limits. Things changed immediately after the break though, as Fujita gave Sagan the lead in the 47th minute. Montedio looked stunned, but tried their best to get back into the game. However, it just got worse when Nozaki made it 0-2 for Sagan in the 70th minute. Montedio replied immediately though through Hayashi but it too little too late for Montedio, as Fujita scored his 2nd 5 minutes after to make it 1-3. To make things worse, DF Suda picked up 2 yellow cards and were sent off in the 83rd minute. It was a close game, which really could go either way. However, it was Sagan’s superior attackers that proved the difference. The win took Sagan only 6 points clear of Toky in 5th, with 2 games in hand. They still have a realistic chance of promotion, but my from my point of view they vary too much to be a serious contender as well as being too poor defensively.

Tokyo Verdy 1969 - Mito Hollyhock 2 - 0
With Tokyo’s stuttering form recent matches ( except the 4-0 drubbing of Cerezo), Mito had a golden opportunity to take their 4th away win in a row against Tokyo. As things turned out, Tokyo proved to be too tough a team to beat this time.
Mito fans must have felt gutted the way Tokyo scored their first goal in the 22nd minute, as the incident prior to Diego’s goal should clearly have been rewarded with a free-kick for Mito. But the referee didn’t see anything wrong, and wrongly have Tokyo the opening goal. Tokyo made it 2-0 10 minutes later through a beautiful set-piece pass which led to Funakoshi scoring his 5th goal of the season. Tokyo were the best team for most of this match, but things could have gone different if the referee had done his job, as Mito should have gotten a penalty in the middle of the 2nd half. Mito forward Takaaku Suzuki picked up an injury as well, and is set to miss the next game. Tokyo outshot Mito 15-10, and all in all were the better team.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Consadole - Cerezo Preview




Consadole Sapporo
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Cerezo Osaka
Consadole travelled to Thespa last round, where they won comfortable 3-0. Consadole took the lead in the 35th minute after Nakayama headed home his 5th goal of the season after a Sunakawa cross. Consadole kept it like that until half-time despite some big chances for the home team. Takagi in the Consadole goal once again denied the opposing team any goals, as he came up with a string of fine saves through the game. Definitely the best goalkeeper in the league. Consadole let Thespa more and more into the game after the break, but the aforementioned Takagi had a good day in the Consadole goal. So, with 15 minutes left to play, Consadole doubled their lead through Sunakawa who ran across the pitch to finish Seiya Fujita’s cross. Fujita made it 3-0 in the 89th minute from a beautiful long-shot. Despite winning by a big margin, Consadole only outshot Thespa 11-10.
Cerezo beat Kansai rivals Kyoto for the 2nd time this season, with a nice 2-1 win. Cerezo played without important Kazuya Maeda in defence, as he was out with suspension. With 7 conceded goals in their previous 2 matches, losing your most valuable defender is not an ideal situation when you’re up against the 2nd placed team in the league. But even without Maeda, Cerezo did a brilliant job in defence, denying Kyoto much chances.Cerezo took an early lead in the 18th minute through midfielder Ale ( Alexandre Luis) but the lead didn’t last long, as Paulinho levelled the score after a nice pass from Kuranuki only 8 minutes later. Just before the break, Cerezo regained their lead as in-form striker Rui Komatsu scored his 7th goal of the season to take Cerezo up 2-1.Cerezo kept the lead for the rest of the game, and won quite deservedly. Kyoto outshot them 13-11, but Cerezo were overall the best team.

Consadole won the first meeting 1-0 at home, and deservingly so. Consadole layed low for much of the game, and defended well enough to deny Cerezo much chances. Consadole’s goal didn’t come before in the 75th minute, when Davi finally broke through the Cerezo defence to make it 1-0 for the home team. It was a game with few big chances, and both team’s defences played a good game. Consadole outshot cerezo 11-7 though, and deserved the win. This was actually Hiroaki Morishima’s last game before he got the injury in training which still holds him out of the team.
The 2nd meeting also ended with a 1-0 win for Consadole, this time away. However, this time around Cerezo were by far the better team, and only unlucky not to get anything from it. Cerezo ”owned” the first half, and put Consadole under pressure immediately after kick-off. Consadole approached the game with it’s usual defensive style, and once again it paid off as the opposition struggled to break through their defence. Midway through the 2nd half, Consadole came on one of their counter-attacks and it was Nakayama who put the visitors in the lead. As it turned out, that was enough for Consadole to win it. Cerezo outshot Consadole 16-7 and should have won.
Consadole’s home form is not that good actually, and although they ”never” lose, they don’t win championships with only draws. On the last 6 they got 1-5-0 at home. Cerezo are decent away, with 3-1-2 on last 6. Cerezo won the last 2 matches against the 2nd and 3rd placed team on the table, and before that lost 4-0 to 4th placed ( at that time) Tokyo Verdy.With 1st placed Consadole coming up now, that’s 4 extremely difficult matches in a row. On the last 6 home and away Cerezo got 5-0-1. Consadole haven’t lost in 10 matches, and got 3-3-0 on last 6 home and away. The 2 meetings before this year is the only previous meetings between the clubs. It’s a very open game this one, and hard to predict a winner. Cerezo are in superior form, and looks a much better side now than when they lost against Consadole earlier this season. Consadole ”never” loses though. Consadole have conceded surprisingly many goals at home lately ( 8 in the last 6), and only scored 9. This match is more important for Cerezo than for Consadole, as Cerezo needs a win to keep their promotion chances alive. Consadole are 5 points clear of 2nd placed Kyoto, and don’t have that much pressure to deliver everytime. With the teams current form and recent outings, I hold Cerezo as small outsider-favorites.
Cerezo Win.

Probable starting line up:
Cerezo: GK Yoshida
DF: Yanagisawa, Maeda, Ezoe, Ze Carlos
MF:Hamada, Miyamoto, Ale, Kagawa
FW: Furuhashi , Komatsu

Round 33 Previews - The rest.....



Tokushima Vortis
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Vegalta Sendai
Tokushima lost 3-0 at home to a travelling Avispa side last round, after being outplayed for most of the match. The game shifted from side to side in the opening 30 minutes, and both teams could have easily scored a goal. The first goal didn’t come before in the 38th minute though, as Avispa took the lead through Alex. Tokushima never really managed to get back into the game, and it was fully deserved when Lincoln doubled the lead halfway through the 2nd half. Alex scored his 2nd a minute from time to make it 3-0 for Avispa. Avispa outshot Tokushima 16-6. Vegalta disappointed with only managing 1-1 home against minnows Mito last round. Mito surprisingly took the lead in the 21st minute but Vegalta equalized just minutes later through Lopes. It was a very exciting contest, and to be fair, Vegalta were by far the better team. Vegalta had a total of 17 shots on goal, but the Mito keeper Honma, who during the summer suddenly have become a really good goalkeeper, denied Vegalta their 2nd goal. Mito came close to win it in the dying minutes with a big chance, but Kobari, who stands in for the injured Schneider in the Vegalta goal, made a marvellous save to keep it 1-1. Vegalta should have won it, but can only blame themselves for not to.

The first meeting this season in Tokushima, ended a 2-2 draw. Vegalta scored alread in the 8th minute to go 1 up, but Tokushima were quick to equalize only 4 minutes later. Lopes gave Vegalta the lead once again in the 16th minute, which for long looked to be the last goal of the match. Tokushima pushed forward for their 2nd goal, and were overall better than Vegalta this match. With 20 minutes left to play, goalscorer Lopes got his 2nd yellow card after a blatant foul, and on the following free-kick Tokushima scored to make it 2-2. Vegalta decided to defend for the point after that, and held out for the rest of the game. Tokushima outshot Vegalta 16-8.
Tokushima did even better away, as the very surprisingly won 2-1. No-one can said they didn’t deserve it either, as they outshot Vegalta 21-11. Vegalta got a man sent off early in the match though, which forced them to switch formation. Despite being a man down, Vegalta were the one to take the lead, in the 44th minute through Nakayama. Tokushima equalized early after the break, and came close on several occasions to score their 2nd as well. With 7 minutes left to play, and the score still deadlocked, Vegalta got a 2nd player sent off. Playing 9 vs 11 proved to hard for them, and Tokushima scored again in the 88th minute to take the win.
Tokushima’s current home form is nothing more than disgraceful, with 0-1-5 on last 6 and a goal aggregate of 0-14!. Vegalta way only got 2-1-3 on last 6. All previous meetings gives us 3-2-1 for Vegalta, and in Tokushima, Vegalta got 2-1-0. Vegalta only got 5 points from their last 6 home and away, and looks in danger of falling too much behind the top teams with their current form. Tokushima have lost 7 out of their last 8 matches.
Vegalta are surely favorites here, but the fact that Tokushima upset (and outplayed) them on both occasions earlier this year makes it a bit more unsure. Still, Vegalta win.
Avispa Fukuoka
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Ehime FC
Avispa took an easy 3-0 away win at Tokushima last round. Alex and Lincoln combined well up front once again, and scored all 3 goals between them. Alex gave Avispa the lead in the 38th minute, after Tokushima had come close on a couple occasions. Avispa took more and more and over after the break, and it was deserved when Lincoln doubled their lead midway through the 2nd half. Alex had the honour of ” finishing” Tokushima off a couple of minutes from full time, as he made it 3-0. Avispa outshot Tokushima 16-6, and it was fully deserved.With the win, Avispa climbed to 3rd place in the table, and with a game in hand on their closest rivals, things looks good in Fukuoka. Ehime did a good job against Tokyo Verdy last round, as they held them to a 1-1 draw at home. In fact, Ehime were the best team, and if anyone deserved the win, it was the home team. Tokyo looked poor in attack without the suspended Hulk, and for once, the Ehime defence did a good job as well. Tokyo took the lead in the 24th minute through Danilo, but it was against the play as Ehime started the game best. Tokyo fell into a more defensive formation after that, and defended well to deny Ehime any big chances. With 15 minutes to go, Ehime finally broke through and made it 1-1 as defender Hoshino scored his first goal of the season. Ehime pushed forward for their 2nd goal, and came close on a couple of occasions as well. Ehime outshot Tokyo 15-7, and probably deserved the win.

Avispa won the first meeting 1-0 at home, after a late goal by Lincoln. Avispa were overall the best team that match, but Ehime played a good match in defense, and came lose of scoring too on a few nice counter-attacks. Avispa had the most chances though, and should have won by a bigger margin. Avispa outshot Ehime and deserved the win. The 2nd meeting, in Ehime, ended 0-0. Avispa were once again the better team, but Ehime defended well.Avispa outshot Ehime 14-9, and also had 9 corner’s to Ehime’s 0. Ehime seems to defend well against good teams actually, denying them many goals. In fact, Ehime got a reasonable good defensive record as well, conceding less goals than for example Tokyo Verdy and Vegalta Sendai. The problem however, lies in attack. With only 18 scored goals in 30 matches, no wonder they are placed as low as they are. With their topscorer Tanaka out with injury as well, it’s hard to see where the goals will come from.
Avispa’s home form is a decent 4-0-2, while Ehime away got 2-1-3. The 2 meetings previous this season is the only time they have met eachother. Ehime have only 2 points and 2 goals from their last 5 matches. Avispa on the other hand, has 3 impressive wins in a row, and a a goal aggregate of 10-2 those matches.
Avispa, with Lincoln and Alex in good form should clinch this.



Kyoto Sanga F.C.
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Thespa Kusatsu
Kyoto lost their 1st match in 10 games last round, when they travelled to Kansai rivals Cerezo. Cerezo won quite deservedly 2-1. Cerezo took the lead in the 18th minute, but only 8 minutes later the score were levelled as Paulinho netted home a Kuranuki pass. Right at the end of the 1st half Cerezo scored again to make it 2-1. The balance of play shifted from side to side the beginning of the 2nd half, but Cerezo looked like they wanted more, and their chances were bigger than Kyoto’s as well. So, despite outshooting Cerezo 13-11, Kyoto got what they deserved here. Thespa had league leaders Consadole last round at home, where they lost 3-0. Consadole took the lead around the 30th minute, and kept it like that until half time. Thespa weren’t all bad though, and despite facing a technically better team, they managed to create some big chances on their own. Takagi in the Consadole goal denied them any goals though. Consadole doubled their lead with 15 minutes to go, and added a 3rd in the 89th minute. Thespa had 10 shots to Consadole’s 11. Thespa recently acquired a new brazilian striker named Careca, and he got his debut this game. Due to a lack of match-practice and perhaps problem getting used to the ”japanese style”, he didn’t do a good match.To make things worse, he picked up a nasty injury towards the end of the game, which will probably keep him out for 2 months Big things are expected from him though, and it will be interesting to see how he manages when he returns from injury.

The first meeting this season ended 1-1, after Thespa scored a last-minute equalizer. Kyoto, who played at home, were all through the match the best team, and should have won this my a big margin. Kyoto pressed hard for the opening goal, but didn’t manage to break through the very tight Thespa defence until the 75th minute. Few would have predicted Thespa to come back from that, but they equalized on what was their only real chance of the game in the 89th minute. Kyoto outshot Thespa 12-3, and should have won.
The 2nd meeting, in Thespa, ended with a 1-0 away win for Kyoto. Once again, Thespa played ultra-defensive through the game, and Kyoto struggled to break through. Thespa got defender Chika sent off with 11 minutes to go, which helped Kyoto open things up in the Thespa defence. The decisive goal didn’t come before the 90th minute though. A very deserved win, and Kyoto outshot Thespa 17-7. Credit to Thespa for defending well over the 2 matches though.
Kyoto’s home form is excellent, with 5-1-0 on last 6. The only draw being against Cerezo, which have proved to be a tough opponent for Kyoto this season ( 2 wins for Cerezo plus a draw) . They’ve scored a total of 14 goals in those matches, which is pretty good. Thespa have 0-3-3 on last 6 away, with only 3 scored goals. Kyoto have only lost once and drawn once in their last 10 games ( both vs Cerezo), so they’re in good form. Thespa on thge other hand, haven’t won in 12 matches , only picking up 4 points and scoring 4 goals from those matches.
Kyoto are big favorites here, and nothing else than a big home win would surprise me.Thespa did defend well in both the 2 previous meetings, but Kyoto is a much more dangerous team now than they were when they met earlier.
Kyoto Win.
Montedio Yamagata
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Sagan Tosu
Montedio didn’t play last round, so their last match was against Ehime at home, where they won 1-0. Montedio dominated the play for most of the match, and took a full deserved, and much-needed win.. Ehime defended with all players behind the ball most of the game, and only on occasions tried to attack Montedio themselves. For long their tactic worked, cause Montedio didn’t manage to score before in the 66th minute. Montedio should have at least have doubled that score, as they had some big chances that failed to hit the back of the net. Ehime produced only 4 shots to Montedio’s 18, and never really looked like scoring.
Sagan’s match against Shonan were cut short, and stopped right before the break. Shonan lead 1-0 at that time, but no info is being published what will happen with that match, and when it will be played. Their last full match was against Consadole away then, where they scraped for a point. Consadole took an early lead through Nishitani, who opened the scoring from the penalty-spot. Sagan pushed forward for the equalizer after that, and got it through another penalty, some 5-10 minutes into the 2nd half. Yoshihito Fujita converted the penalty easily, to take his tally to a total of 14 goals this season. The 23 year old FW has had a breakthough this season. Last year he only scored 4 times from 25 apperances, while this year he got 14 goals from 26 matches. He has alone scored almost half of Sagan’s 32 goals this season. Consadole had several big chances to regain the lead, especially after their coach switched to a more offensive formation. They failed to score though, and the match ended 1-1. Sagan actually outshot Consadole with 13-12, but overall it was a fortunate point for the away team. Credit for good defending though ( copied from last rounds preview).
Montedio won the first meeting this season, 2-1 at home. Sagan took the lead midway through the 1st half, and defended well to keep their lead. Montedio didn’t create much up front, and for long it looked like Sagan would win it. With 10 minutes left though, Montedio equalized through topscorer Toyoda, and minutes later they doubled that to make it 2-1. Sagan outshot Montedio 10- 7, and probably deserved more from this. It was a similar story in the 2nd meeting, only with the roles changed this time. Montedio took the lead right after the break, and as Sagan in the first match, defended well to keep it like that. With som 10-12 minutes left though, suddenly Sagan ” woke up”, and scored 2 quick goals to steal the win. Montedio outshot Sagan 11-7, and as Sagan in the first match, should have gotten more from it. Montedio got 2-1-3 on the last 6, and the same form goes for Sagan away. Montedio have improved a bit lately though, with 2 straight wins and 2-2-0 on last 6. Sagan varies alot lately. All previous meetings gives us 2-1-3 for Montedio.
I’ll say Montedio are small favorites due to form and home advantage here. Both teams seems to be stuck in the middle of the table, and I doubt any of them have the strength to keep up with the teams battling for promotion, although it’s only 4 points up to Cerezo and Shonan.
Montedio Win.
Tokyo Verdy 1969
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Mito Hollyhock
Tokyo could only manage a point against Ehime away last round, and clearly suffered without Hulk in attack. Danilo gave them an early lead, but as Tokyo seemed more interested in defending that lead, rather than double it, Ehime took more and more over and created lost of chances. As the game progressed, the tactic seemed to work quite good, until 15 minutes left when Ehime finally were able to break through to make it 1-1. Ehime came close on winning it as well in the dying minutes. As it turned out, Tokyo were fortunate to get a point here, as Ehime outshot them 15-7.
Mito played Vegalta away, and fought hard for a point in a 1-1 draw. Mito took the lead in the 21st minute through Shiokawa, but just minutes later Lopes equalized for Vegalta. Vegalta created most chances, and came close on several occasions as well to go 1 up. Mito keeper Honma did a brilliant job to deny Vegalta more goals though, and if he continues his nice display, Mito have a potential match-winner in him. As Vegalta pushed forward, Mito eyed a counter-attack, and nearly got one as well with 5 minutes to go. Vegalta outshot Mito 17-7 though, and Mito were all in all lucky to get the point.

Mito won 5-1 away the first meeting, and shocked pretty much everyone with that. As Tokyo took the lead in the 9th minute, it looked like it would be just another big-defeat for Mito. The Mito players showed great poise though, and fought themselves back into the game. By half-time, Mito were up 2-1, and fully deserved as well. Tokyo collapsed after the break, and 2 quick goals soon made it 1-4. Mito scored their last goal in the dying minutes, and the humilitation for Tokyo was complete. What was even worse than the defeat, was that it was so deserved against probably the smallest team in J.League. Mito outshot Tokyo 15-8.
Tokyo regained some of their pride in the 2nd meeting, as they won 1-0.away. But they didn’t impress, and the goal came after a rare mistake by a Mito defender. Mito came close on several occasions throughout the game, but didn’t manage to put the ball past the goalkeeper. Despite the win, Tokyo were outshot 18-10 by Mito.
Tokyo’s home form is only 3-1-2, while Mito have 1-2-3 away. The teams have have 6 times before, with each team winning 3. In fact, in Tokyo, Mito have won all 3 previous meetings, and each of them were fully deserved wins as well.
Tokyo have only won 1 of the last 5 matches, but before their slump, they won 4 games in a row. Mito have 3 draws in a row now, much to the credit of GK Honma, and an impressive defence.
I would like to bet on Mito here, as they have a phsychological advance over Tokyo ( in tokyo at least), and have a 100% record there as well. But Tokyo are the “natural” favorites, with better players and all. Tokyo hasn’t been that impressive though lately, and Mito’s form has improved little by little.This one is probably the hardest match to predict this round, but to bet a small amount on yet an away win for Mito might be a good idea.
I kinda hope for an underdog win for Mito, as well as because Tokyo being one of Cerezo’s main rivals in the battle for promotion, but Tokyo SHOULD win this easily.
Still, I go for a narrow away win.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Cerezo - Vegalta ( 4-3 ) Goals

Thanks once again to Kunitachi for uploading the Cerezo goals. Furuhashi scored the 2 first, then one by Komatsu and Morishima poked in the last one.



Cerezo beat Kansai rivals Kyoto for the 2nd time this season, with a nice 2-1 win. Cerezo played without important Kazuya Maeda in defence, as he was out with suspension. With 7 conceded goals in their previous 2 matches, losing your most valuable defender is not an ideal situation when you’re up against the 2nd placed team in the league. But even without Maeda, Cerezo did a brilliant job in defence, denying Kyoto much chances.
Cerezo took an early lead in the 18th minute through midfielder Ale ( Alexandre Luis) but the lead didn’t last long, as Paulinho levelled the score after a nice pass from Kuranuki only 8 minutes later. Just before the break, Cerezo regained their lead as in-form striker Rui Komatsu scored his 7th goal of the season to take Cerezo up 2-1.
Cerezo kept the lead for the rest of the game, and won quite deservedly. Kyoto outshot them 13-11, but Cerezo were overall the best team.

Attendance: 3416

As a sidenote, 3 Cerezo players were picked for the J2 All-Star Game, representing J2 West. The players are Tatsuya Furuhashi ( right winger), Yasuhito Morishima ( Forward) and Kazuya Maeda ( defence). Congratulations to them!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

J League 2 Round 32 - Preview






Cerezo Osaka
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Kyoto Sanga F.C.
Cerezo played Vegalta at home last round, where they 4-3 after a last minute by substitute Yasuhito Morishima. Neither of the teams really couldn’t afford to lose this, and instead of lay low and wait for the opponent to come forward and take them on counter-attack, both teams played fast-paced, attacking football. Vegalta opened the ball, with a goal in the 18th minute by Nakashima. Vegalta looked the most dangerous team before the break, and Cerezo had a hard battle in front of them. Cerezo equalized though, through their topscorer Furuhashi right before the break. With the teams deadlocked at halftime, it didn’t took Cerezo long to go up 2-1. Once again, it was Furuhashi that was on target. Cerezo looked alot more deadlier after the break than before, but their all-out-attack style of play often creates space for the other team ass well. Vegalta only needed 5 minutes to even things up again, and we were in for a thriller end. Cerezo once again took the lead ,this time through Komatsu, midway through the 2nd half. For long it looked like it would be the last goal of the match, but Vegalta equalized again with only 7 minutes left to play. Morishima, which came off the bench to replace Komatsu, scored neatly to give the home team a very important win. Cerezo outshot Vegalta 13-10, and to be fair, it was a deserved win.
Kyoto didn’t play last round, so their last match was against Shonan at home, where they won 2-1.Shonan took the lead in the 30th minute through Jean, and kept it like that till half-time. Kyoto didn’t create much the first half, but came out a complete new team after the break. Within 9 minutes of the 2nd half, they had scored 2 quick goals and were suddenly in the lead.In-form midfielder Tokushige equalized in the 48th minute, and Mikami scored the 2nd goal. Jean, who scored Shonan’s goal, went from hero to villain as he produced the free-kick which led to the 2-1 goal for Kyoto. Kyoto outshot Shonan 12-5.

Cerezo won the 1st meeting this season, 3-2 at home. This was Cerezo’s 4th game of the season, and after losing their first 3 matches, finally produced a win. Kyoto started best though, and were 1-0 by the break. Cerezo levelled things out just 1 minute into the 2nd half through Furuhashi, only to see Kyoto take the lead again. (Both of Kyoto’s goals were scored by Andrè, who is reported to be injury-free now, but probably not in the squad for tomorrow’s game). Cerezo came back though, and 2 late goals by Ze Carlos and Maeda (who’s suspended) gave them the first points of the season. Cerezo outshot Kyoto 13-11 in a tight game. The last meeting ended 1-1 in Kyoto. Once again, Kyoto took an early which led Cerezo to play catch.up. Kyoto’s goal were a thunderous strike by midfielder Saito, which must go under the category of a ”lucky goal”. Kyoto’s play this match lacked inspiration, and although they fired off a decent amount of shots, they didn’t look much dangerous up front. Therefore, it was totally deserved as Kim equalized for Cerezo midway through the 2nd half, and in fact, Cerezo should have scored a couple more as well. Kyoto outshot Cerezo 13-12, but that doesn’t give the right picture of the balance of play. Kyoto have won 8 out of their last 9 matches, and the only game they didn’t win were in fact the 1-1 draw with Cerezo. Cerezo isn’t in bad form themselves, and got 5-0-1 on the last 6 at home. They have 4 out of the last 5 matchs overall. Kyoto have 4-0-2 away, and are unbeaten for 9 matches. Cerezo has the upper hand this season, winning one and drawing one. The same goes historically, with a 2-3-1 advantage for Cerezo. These matches always provide lots of goal, and besides the 1-1 draw last time, there have always been 4 goals or more between them. I think we’re in for another high-scoring game here. The outcome of the match is not easy to call though, as both teams are in very good form, and both teams need a win ( Cerezo need it to catch up with the 3rd place, while Kyoto need it to stay in 2nd). This a derby-match, and there will probably be a big crowd in Nagai Stadium. Home-advantage may play a part here then.

The key-player for this game will be Furuhashi ( pictured), as he looks to continue his great form and bag a couple of goals here as well.

Win for Cerezo.


Ehime FC
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Tokyo Verdy 1969
Ehime lost 1-0 away to Montedio last round, after pretty much being outplayed for most of the match. Ehime defended with all players behind the ball most of the game, and only on occasions tried to attack Montedio themselves. For long their tactic worked, ause Montedio didn’t manage to score before in the 66th minute. Montedio should have at least have doubled that score, as they had some big chances that failed to hit the back of the net. Ehime produced only 4 shots to Montedio’s 18, and never really looked like scoring. Tokyo struggled without Hulk last match, when they lost 2-1 to Avispa. Tokyo didn’t produce much up front, and their attacking play looked without rhytm and a proper plan. Avispa took an early lead through in-form striker Alex, and doubled that lead 15 minutes into the 2nd half. Tokyo also had some chances, but porr finishing kept them from scoring until midway through the 2nd half, when they reduced Avispa’s lead to 1 goal. I wasn’t enough though, and a deserved win for Avispa who were helped forward by a record-high home crowd, outshooting Tokyo 10-7.

The first meeting this season, in round 2, ended with a 3-1 away win for Tokyo. Tokyo started the match best, and took an early lead through Hulk. Ehime didn’t have much to come up with this match , and looked the inferior team for most parts. Tokyo scored 2 more goals in the 2nd half, and Ehime got their consolation goal a minute from full-time. All the goalscorers that game, Tanaka for Ehime and Hulk / Funakoshi for Tokyo, are missing this time. Tokyo outshot Ehime 12-7. The 2nd meeting however, Ehime won 1-0 away. It was totally undeserved though, as Tokyo were by far the best team on the pitch. Ehime deserved credit for defending well, but they must find themselves very lucky. Ehime’s goal came at the start of the 2nd half, and although Tokyo had a total of 19 shots on goal ( to Ehime’s 4), they failed to find the net. A slip-up from Tokyo. Ehime’s home form is only 1-2-3, while Tokyo away got 3-2-1. Tokyo lost last time against Avispa, but before that they got an impressive 5-3-0 away. Recent results suggests that Tokyo hasn’t been consistent of lately though, varying alot in their performances. Ehime have only 1 point from their last 4 matches. All previous meetings gives us 2-1-3 for Ehime, and Tokyo have a 2-1-0 record in their 3 away matches against them. Tokyo are missing quite a few players here, and without Hulk ( and Funakoshi) up front, it will be hard to see where the goals will come from. Hulk (21) and Funakoshi (4) have scored 25 goals this season between them, which is around 50% out of Tokyo’s total tally of 51 scored goals. Ehime as well are missing their top-scorer Tanaka, who so far have bagged 5 goals this season.
Win for Tokyo.


Thespa Kusatsu
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Consadole Sapporo
Thespa travelled to Mito last round, and were lucky to escape with a 0-0 draw. Mito were the best team, and had the biggest chances. Thespa had some chances as well, but the shots were all stopped by MOM, Honma in the Mito goal. Both teams had 9 shots each, but Mito’s chances were much more dangerous than Thespa’s ones. Credit to Thespa for good defending though. Consadole must be disappointed with only a point from the encounter with Sagan at home, after they drew 1-1. Consadole took an early lead through Nishitani, who scored from the penalty-spot. Sagan pushed forward for the equalizer after that, and got it through another penalty, some 5-10 minutes into the 2nd half. Consadole had several big chances to regain the lead, especially after their coach switched to a more offensive formation. They failed to score though, and the match ended 1-1. Consadole had 12 shots to Sagan’s 13, but despite being outshot, Consadole were the best team.

The first meeting, in round 13, ended with a very surprising 2-1 home win for Thespa, which by that ended Consadole unbeaten run of 10 games. Consadole took the lead in the 31st minute through their topscore Davi, but 6 minutes later Thespa were up 2-1 after 2 quick goals. Consadole look surprisingly poor up front that match, and failed to Thespa under much pressure. Thespa outshot Consadole 10-8, and all in all it was deserved. The 2nd meeting ended 2-2 in Sapporo, and by that, Thespa currently holds a league-best record against Consadole so far this season. Surprisingly, this match as well was pretty even, and Thespa fought hard to deserve the point. Consadole took an early lead only to see Thespa equal it right before the break. The same scenario happened in the 2nd half, with Consadole going 2-1 up before Thespa evened it out 5 minutes from time. Consadole had 11 shots to Thespa’s 9 and was marginally better this time. All previous meetings gives us 1-3-2 for Thespa, and all the previous matches bar one were high-scoring battles. Thespa’s home form isn’t much to brag about, with 1-1-4 on last 6. Consadole are great away, with 5-0-1. Consadole are unbeaten for 8 matches now, but have drawn 5 of them. Thespa haven’t won in 13 games, and have been generally poor lately, falling allt he way down to 13th place. They do got a pretty decent recod against Consadole though, and with the 2 missing regulars for Consadole, they might have a chance here. Physcologically, they have an advantage as well. Neither teams are known for scoring lots of goals, but the history tells us there usually are a couple of them between these teams. Even so, Consadole are favorites here, and I pretty much doubt they will lose. Thespa can spring another surprise though.
Win for Consadole.

Vegalta Sendai
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Mito Hollyhock

Vegalta travelled to Osaka last round, where they fell 4-3 to Cerezo. It was a thrilling encounter, and the decisive goal didn’t come before the 89th minute. Vegalta opened the ball, with a goal in the 18th minute by Nakashima. Vegalta looked the most dangerous team before the break, and Cerezo had a hard battle in front of them. Cerezo equalized though, through their topscorer Furuhashi right before the break. With the teams deadlocked at halftime, it didn’t took Cerezo long to go up 2-1. . Vegalta only needed 5 minutes to even things up again as Ryan Yong GI made it 2-2. Cerezo once again took the lead midway through the 2nd half. For long it looked like it would be the last goal of the match, but Vegalta equalized again with only 7 minutes left to play through midfielder Sugai. It wasn’t enough though, as Cerezo scored their 4th goal with only a minute left on the clock. Although it was even, Cerezo deserved the win in the end, as they outshot Vegalta 13-10.
Mito played Thespa at home, and have to blame rued chances for not picking up a much needed win. Mito were overall the best team, but with poor finishing failed to find the net once again. Thespa weren’t much better up front, and the chances they had were all saved by Mito GK Honma, who had a good day at work. Both teams had 9 shots each, but Mito were the superior team in terms of possession and should have bagged this one.


Vegalta won the first meeting pretty easily 2-0 at home. Vegalta dominated both possession and play, but couldn’t find the net before in the 75th minute through Tanoue. Vegalt doubled their lead with a minute left to play and secured the win. Mito had some dangerous chances at the end of the 1st half, but that was pretty much it. Vegalta outshot Mito 18-9 and deserved the win. Vegalta also won the 2nd encounter, 3-1 away. Vegalta scored 1 quick goals at the beginning of the 1st half, and looked to be in control of the game early on. Mito reduced just minutes after though, and suddenly it was “game on” again. Lopes took all doubt away midway through the 2nd half however, as he extended Vegalta’s lead to 3-1. Vegalta outshot Mito 14-10, and deserved this win as well. Vegalta’s home form is 4-0-2, while Mito away got 1-1-4. Mito comes from two 0-0 matches in a row, but before that they lost 6 in a row. Vegalta only got 4 points from the last 5 matches, and have been underperforming lately. Vegalta has a great record vs Mito, with 5-1-0 on all previous meetings. No doubt Vegalta are favorites here as well, and I can’t see Mito get much from this. Win for Vegalta.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Tokushima - Avispa Preview

Not much to do with Cerezo but, here are the preview for Tokushima-Avispa.
Or in fact, it does has alot to do with Cerezo. Avispa are one of the main rivals for the 3rd place, so a loss here or even a draw would be good news for Cerezo.
Previews for Sunday's games will be out tomorrow.

Tokushima Vortis - Avispa Fukuoka
Tokushima played Shonan Bellmare away last round, where they lost 2-0 after getting 2 players sent off. Tokushima must find themselves lucky not to have lost by a bigger margin, as Shonan outplayed them all through the match, even before the red cards. It was still deadlocked by halftime though, and the biggest we saw before the break was the red card of Tokushima striker Kobayashi. Tokushima were now forced back on the field, and as they tried to defend with all their might, Shonan scored 2 quick goals on the some time into the 2nd half. And it became worse, as Andrè also was sent-off, with 20 minutes left to play. Shonan were unlucky not to score more goals after that, and they outshot Tokushima 22-9.
Avispa had a tough opponent at home in Tokyo Verdy, but managed to pull off a 2-1 win. In front of a record-high home-crowd Aviap took an early lead through Alex, who scored 3 in the emphatic 5-1 away win the round before. The first hald didn’t produce much chances besides the goal, as both teams were cautious in their build-up. Avispa extended their lead 15 minutes into the 2nd half. but Tokyo were quick to reply to take the score to 2-1. Tokyo clearly suffered without Hulk up front, and his replacement had big trouble filling his shoes. Tokyo’s attacking play lacked ”crisp”, and they never came close of equalizing Avispa’s lead. Avispa didn’t play great this game, but did just enough to grab all points. 2 important wins in a row for Avispa, who now got their eyes on Vegalta in 3rd.

Avispa won both the 2 previous meetings. The last one ended with a 2-1 home win, in a game with very few chances. Tokushima actually took the lead, and switched to an ultra-defensive tactic after that. Avispa didn’t take long to equalize though, but struggled to find the 2nd goal. Avispa’s offensive play lacked a plan, and for long it looked like it would end 1-1 before Avispa finally went ahead with 10 minutes left to play. Avispa outshot Tokushima 6-3, and it was a slow and poor football match. The first meeting ended with a 1-0 win for Avispa away. In this game as well, Avispa had to wait a long time before they were ahead. The decisice goal came with just 4 minutes left after Lincoln nicely put the ball in the net. Tokushima looked a much better team this game than the other one, and gave Avispa a hard fight for the points. Both teams had 12 shots each, and the win could easily have ended up with Tokushima instead of Avispa. Those are the 2 only meetings ever between them.
Tokushima’s home record is awful, with 0-1-5 on last 6 and 0-12 in goal difference.
Avispa have 3-1-2 away, and they have won their 2 last games.
Both teams are with some important members here, and Tokushima have as many as 3 players out with suspension. They get 2 players back though for this game that didn’t play against Shonan.
Avispa must find themselves as big favorites here, with Tokushima’s poor form and the fact that Avispa are the superior team.