Sunday, October 28, 2007

Tokushima Vortis 0 - Cerezo Osaka 2 (28.10-2007)



Cerezo are in a position where they have to win all the remaining matches now, and they had few problems beating Tokushima 2-0 away Sunday. Levir Culpi had made some tactical changes since last match, like replacing out-of-form striker Komatsu with Kakitani from the start, as well as giving Kota Fujimoto a rare start in midfield, which led to Germano taking place on the wing. Because of this, Cerezo looked pretty bad in the first half, and struggled to find their usual rhythm to build up attacks. Tokushima had the most possession, but didn't come to any dangerous situations.

With the team struggling so much, Culpi decided to change back to their normal tactic this match, replacing Fujimoto with Sakemoto. Now Germano and Ale were back in centre midfield, and things suddenly looked much better. Cerezo switched their play more and more to the wings, and came to several chances.

But we had to wait until midway through the 2nd half for the opening goal. Ze Carlos's freekick from the right reached Germano, who with ease headed the ball past the Tokushima keeper.
After the goal, the tempo slowed down a bit, and Tokushima had trouble breaking through the compact Cerezo defence. The times they came to chances, Yoshida in the goal had no problems dealing with it. Also Kakitani left the pitch, and in came Komatsu. Komatsu and Furuhashi have built a very good partnership over the season, and their combination play is a joy to watch.

Right before the end, Cerezo made it 2-0 through Ze Carlos. The technical brazilian dribbled his way through a few Tokushima defenders before calmly placing the ball behind the keeper in the 89th minute. That was the last of action we saw, and it was a well-deserved win. Cerezo outshot Tokushima 14-9.

After the match, Culpi stated something needed to be made after the break, as his tactical changes didn't paid off. Next up is Avispa Fukuoka at home, but that's not before 2 weeks from now. With Kyoto losing 3-0 (!) at Sagan, we're only 3 points behind them now, and 4 points behind Vegalta in 3rd. Our goal difference still needs to be improved, and Vegalta/Kyoto need to drop points in atleast 2 more matches. But everything is possible, and our chances were strengtened after this round.

J2 round 48:
Goals:
C: Germano (Ze Carlos) 71 , Ze Carlos 89

Cerezo lineup:
GK: Yoshida
DF: Yanagisawa,Maeda,Ezoe,Ze Carlos
MF: Fujimoto,Ale,Germano,Kagawa
FW: Kakitani,Furuhashi


Subs:
Fujimoto ---> Sakemoto 45
Kakitani ---> Komatsu 73

Shots: Tokushima 9 / Cerezo 14
Cards: T: 1 yellow / C: Ze Carlos, Yanagisawa yellow
Attendance: 4807

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Tokushima Vortis - Cerezo Osaka preview

J2 - round 48

AGAINST



Probable lineups:



Tokushima Vortis
-
Cerezo Osaka

In their previous meeting, Cerezo won 3-1 at home.. The first goal came right before half-time, after Tatsuya Furuhashi broke the deadlock with a fine finish.. Tokushima weren’t all lost this game though, and levelled the score with only 15 minutes left to play. Tokushima looked quite good this game actually, and put Cerezo under a lot of pressure at times. As time ran out, and it looked liked it would end a stalemate, Rui Komatsu, who got back from injury for this game, scored 2 nice goals in the dying minutes to give Cerezo a much needed win. Tokushima outshot Cerezo 12-11 though. Cerezo were also the best team away, and impressed with a stunning 4-0 win.The first match in Osaka ended 1-1. That’s all the previous meetings between these teams.
Tokushima’s form is mildly spoken horrible. 5 straight losses, and only 1 point on their last 7 matches. They are decent at home though with 2-2-2 on last 6. Cerezo ”finally” lost in their last away match, when they travelled to Vegalta. But they bounced back beautifully with a cracking 3-0 win last round.So apart from the loss at Vegalta, they are in really good form with 8-2-1 on last 11. However, their away form is only 3-1-2.
Cerezo looks to field the same 11 that started the last match against Montedio, and the same goes for Tokushima. Both teams can field their best possible lineups here, and according to Yahoo! Sports Tokushima will go out in an offensive 4-3-3 formation. That will most likely open things up for Cerezo, especially on the wings where they have very creative players. So I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw some goals here, and then most likely for the away team.
CEREZO WIN

Friday, October 26, 2007

Ohayou Cerezo!

A japanese morning show about Cerezo, and this time they interview Kakitani and Nakayama.

Kazuya Maeda's goal vs Vegalta Sendai (round 46)

A bit late, but here are Maeda's goal against Vegalta in their 1-2 loss last weekend.

J2 Match Reports - round 47



Avispa Fukuoka
-
Thespa Kusatsu
2-1
With just 1 point from their last 3 matches, Avispa were in desperate need of a win again. Thespa on the other hand took their first win in 9 matches last round, and wanted to make it 2 in a row here. And it almost looked like that as well, as Thespa opened the match quite good, and scored the opening goal in the 27th minute after Careca found Matsushita free in the box. However, just 4 minutes later Avispa were awarded a penalty, and Lincoln made no mistake from the penalty spot and made it 1-1. With their regular penalty taker Alex out, Lincoln were the man who had to step up.
After the goal, Avispa turned the game around and became the dominant team. The 7000 or so in the stands had to wait until the 76th minute before we saw the 2nd goal though, as Ceccoli found an unmarked Kawashima in the box. Kawashima had no problems converting the header, and he made it 2-1. Avispa seemed satisfied with being in the lead, and slacked off a little after that. They outshot Thespa 14-4 and totally deserved the win. They should have won by a bigger margin according to chances though.
Consadole Sapporo
-
Tokushima Vortis
1-0
With most of their creative players out with either injuries or suspension, Consadole had to look elsewhere for goals this match. As it turned out, Genki Nakayama, who’ve started pretty much every match this season upfront, scored his first goal in almost 3 months, and his 6th this season just before the break. Okamoto, who stood in for the injured Fujita found Nakayama with a long pass, and Nakayama made it look easy when he fired Consadole ahead.
The match was played in a good atmosphere, and the over 10 000 in the stands cheered the home team on for most of the match. However, Tokushima had several chances to equalize, and should have done it as well. In fact, Tokushima outshot the home team 11 to 8 this match and atleast deserved a draw. But in the end it was a hard-fought and extremely important victory for Consadole, who took their 3rd win in a row.
Kyoto Sanga F.C.
-
Ehime FC
3 - 1
Ehime stunned the home fans as they took a surprising 1-0 lead already in the 12th minute. Josimar, who’s been a revelation after he came to Ehime, scored his 8th goal in 17 matches after being fed by Shunsuke Oyama. Ehime looked quite sharp for most of the first half, and should have gotten more from their many chances. Kyoto’s topscorer Paulinho equalized just 12 minutes after Ehime’s opener, after an assist from Tokushige.Besides a yellow card for Kyoto’s Andrè,which means he’s out for next game, not much more happened after that, and the teams were still levelled at half-time.
Andrè looked like had picked up a knock as well as the yellow card, and he was substituted for Tahara before the 2nd half started. That wasn’t a bad move, as Tahara became the hero of the day with 2 goals. The first one was an amazing bicycle kick from 10m out that went straight into the bottom-right corner in the 58th minute. He made it 3-1 just 15 minutes later after a looping pass from Tokushige found Tahara free in the box.
With that, the game was settled, and not much more happened. It was a fairly even match, with Kyoto having most chances, and also proved more efficient. They outshot Ehime 15-9.
Shonan Bellmare
-
Mito Hollyhock
2-1
In a very entertaining and open match, Shonan bounced back from their 0-3 defeat at Verdy last round by beating Mito 2-1 at home. Mito opened the match best however, and took a deserved 1-0 lead in the 34th minute after Nishino neatly placed the ball behind the Shonan GK from a free-kick. That lasted until 15 minutes into the 2nd half, when Kato found DF Jean Carlo Witte with a free-kick and Jean headed it neatly past the stranding Honma in the Mito goal. And just 4 minutes later, Kato decided to do it alone, when he scored from a direct free-kick to give Shonan a 2-1 lead.
Both teams had several chances both before and after that, including shots in the woodwork from both teams. but it ended 2-1, and Shonan took their 4th win out of 4 possible this season against Mito.Although Mito easily could have scored more goals, it was a deserved win as they were outshot 13-9 by Shonan.
Tokyo Verdy 1969
-
Sagan Tosu
3 - 2
Verdy continued their route to J1 with a 3-2 win over Sagan at home, but they had to struggle for the points. Things started well for them though, as Hulk fired home a free-kick from the left already in the 2nd miinute that flew past the Sagan keeper. A shock opening for Sagan, but they managed to stay focused and played a good game altogether. Verdy went 2-0 up though just before the break, after the ball hit an unlucky Sagan player and bounced into the open net.
Immediately after the break, Hulk scored his 2nd of the day, which was another powerful shot from the left side of the pitch. Being 3 goals down, few thought Sagan would be able to bounce back. But they got one back just 3 minutes after Hulk’s 2nd goal, as Tetsuto from his back position found a free Leonardo that made no mistake alone with the Verdy keeper. Sagan fought hard to get back into the match, and besides the goals Verdy didn’t look that good.Sagan had to wait until the 89th minute for their 2nd goal which came through substitute Nozaki. By then, it was little time left to chase the equalizer and it ended 3-2 for Verdy. Sagan outshot the home team 11-9 though and deserved more than a loss here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Cerezo Osaka 3 - Montedio Yamagata 0 (round 47)

Cerezo had no problems overcoming a poor Montedio side at home on wednesday, and won 3-0.An inspiring Germano played maybe his best in the Cerezo jersey so far, and also had an assist to Cerezo's first goal in the 14th minute.Tatsuya Furuhashi received the ball just outside the box, and fired home a powerful shot to make it 1-0. . In fact, all the Cerezo players looked to have an extra spring in their step this match, as they were out to revenge the bitter defeat they suffered at Vegalta last round. Kenjiro Ezoe were back in defence alongside Maeda, and they did a brilliant job helping Yoshida, who also had a good day at work, keep a clean sheet. But despite several chances, the score was still only 1-0 when the referee blew the whistle for half-time.

It wasn't a particular ugly match, but we saw some rough tackles from both teams, and one of them ended with a red card for veteran MF Nobuyuki Zaizen of Montedio. Zaizen came on to replace an injured Montedio player early in the 1st half, and received the marching order 25 minutes after the break. Montedio weren't creating much with 11 vs 11, and few left them any chances of getting anything from this now that they were reduced to 1o.
Levir Culpi replaced Kakitani and Komatsu, who have been a little off lately at the hour mark, and in came Y.Morishima and Sakemoto
Cerezo continued their pressure, but had to wait until the 79th minute before they got their 2nd goal. Shinji Kagawa, who had impressed with his fabulous dribbling skills all match, found an unmarked Furuhashi in the box after one of his raids, and Furuhashi easily converted his 2nd goal of the match. With the 2 goals, Furuhashi are now up in 17 goals this season which is quite impressive. Noriyuki Sakemoto had the honour of finishing Montedio off with a goal in the 84th minute.

All in all a very impressive outing for Cerezo, but unfortunately all the other top teams won as well, so we're still 6 points behind 3rd place, currently held by Kyoto.



Goals:
C: Furuhashi 14 ( Germano), 79 ( Kagawa) and Sakemoto 84 (Ze Carlos)

Cerezo lineup:
GK: Yoshida
DF: Yanagisawa,Maeda,Ezoe,Ze Carlos
MF: Kakitani, Ale,Germano,Kagawa
FW: Komatsu, Furuhashi

Subs:
Sakemoto ---> Kakitani 61
Y.Morishima ---> Komatsu 61
Yamashita ---> Maeda 87

Shots: Cerezo 16 / Montedio 8
Cards: Cerezo 0 / Montedio 1 red, 2 yellow

Attendance: 5148
(with just 1/10 of the tickets sold it weren't too crowdy..)
(Thanks to Heichi for pictures)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Cerezo Osaka - Montedio Yamagata Preview



Probable lineups:


In their last meeting Cerezo took a 1-0 away win after a last minute goal from the usual impressive Shinji Kagawa. It was a pretty close match where Montedio had 12 shots to Cerezo's 16. But if anyone deserved the win it was Cerezo. For this game, the new brazilian signing Germano made his debut in midfield for Cerezo, and played a big part in Cerezo’s win. The other match in Yamagata ended with a 2-1 win for Montedio, while Cerezo won 1-0 at home. That’s the only times these teams have met.
Cerezo’s form has taken a dip now, with only 5 points from their last 4 matches. When they lost against Vegalta last round, they might have lost the chance to be promoted as well. Even if Cerezo wins all their remaining 6 matches, atleast 2 of the other teams need to slip up.
But Cerezo have on paper only easy matches left ( except the last match home against Verdy), and might very well end up with 6 wins from those.Cerezo’s home form is really good, with 5-1-0 on last 6. Montedio have only taken 1 point from their last 5 matches, and looks generally bad.Their away form is 1-2-3. For this game they get Toyoda back upfront, but in return Yokoyama is out with suspension. Cerezo seems to field their regular lineup again after making some changes in their recent matches.

CEREZO WIN

J2 Match Reports - Round 46



Avispa Fukuoka
-
Consadole Sapporo
0-1
Consadole did a brilliant job to get away with the win at Hakata-no-mori stadium last round. Consadole played 10 against 11 for over half the game, and got their playmaker Fujita injured in the opening minutes. Okamoto who came on to replace Fujita, proved to be the hero of the day for Consadole, as his goal from the header in the 22th minute proved to be the winning goal. Avispa tried hard to get back into the game, and should have scored on a couple of occasions as well. But everything has gone against Avispa this season, who were one of the favorites for promotion back to J1. With the loss here, it’s 99% sure they have to say in J2 for atleast one more season. Consadole defended with all their strenght, and did a good job in doing so as well. The back-four looked well-organized,and the players showed an aggressiveness we haven’t seen from that side in the last couple of months. It resulted in alot of cards though including a red one for FW Ishii in the 36th minute, but it might have been a turning point for Consadole. Avispa outshot Consadole 12-7.
Thespa Kusatsu
-
Ehime FC
1 - 0
Thespa won their first home match in over 5 months and only their 2nd win in their last 26 matches when they met Ehime last round. Actually it was Ehime they beat 9 rounds ago as well ( 3-1 away). But despite the win, which some thinks was a lucky one, it was the away team that created most chances and in that matter deserved the win. Ehime even had a PK, which was briliantly saved by Thespa GK Honda. Thespa’s goal came 4 minutes into the 2nd half, after Toriizuka picked up the loose ball to hammer it home. After the goal, the Thespa coach made some tactical changes and switched from 4-4-2 to 4-1-4-1. It seemed like a smart move, as even Ehime came to several chances, the anchor-player made it much more difficult for Ehime to break through the defence. The pitch was in a bad condition as well, and Ehime which is a very passing-oriented and to some degree technical team were affected by that. Ehime outshot Thespa 15-8.
Mito Hollyhock
-
Sagan Tosu
0 - 2
In a high-tempered and aggresive match, Mito lost 0-2 to a visiting Sagan side last round. We saw some nasty play from both teams ( especially Mito), and also had 2 sending-off’s. Mito opened the match best, and should have scored an early goal. But instead it was Sagan who broke the deadlock on one of their first real attempts, as LW Shimizu scored in the 40th minute. With the goal-advantage, Sagan took more and more over in the 2nd half, and
their topscorer Fujita scored his 22nd goal of the season 19 minutes into the half. As mentioned earlier there was a lot of dirty play, but the first player to receive the red card was Mito FW Iwadate. Iwadate got 2 very doubtful yellow cards, and he reacted by kicking the advertising board which might lead to an extension of his suspension. Also Nakamura in the Mito defence received the marching order, but overall this match Mito weren’t any nastier than Sagan. With 9 against 11, Mito couldn’t do much more than defend, so the match ended 0-2. Mito outshot Sagan 10-8 though, and under different circumstances might should have gotten more from it.

Montedio Yamagata
-
Tokyo Verdy 1969
0-2
Verdy’s march to J1 continued on sunday, as they overcame Montedio away with a 2-0 win. Verdy had no problems beating the home-side, and the win could easily have been much bigger. Verdy looked good especially in the first half, and should have been a few goals up by halftime. But the only goal we saw came from Nemoto right before the break, and at half-time the score was 0-1. Montedio got more into the game in the 2nd half, but couldn’t prevent J2 topscorer Hulk in scoring his 33rd goal of the season in his 39th match. Hulk is owned by Kawasaki Frontale in J1, and will probably go back there when the season ends. A nice win for Verdy, who outshot Montedio 19-7. With only 5 games left for Ruy Ramos’s men, it will only take a total collapse in the next games to prevent them from going up.
Tokushima Vortis
-
Kyoto Sanga F.C.
0-2
Kyoto also impressed last round, when they easily beat Tokushima away 2-0. The score should have been bigger though, and Kyoto had a few shots in the woodwork that should have gone in. Nakayama, who got a rare start, proved his worth right before the break when he scored the opening goal for Kyoto.Kyoto’s topscorer Paulinho doubled the lead only 8 minutes into the 2nd half. Infact, Tokushima didn’t look particularly good this match, and didn’t have any real chances worth mentioning. After a rough period that ended with sacking Minobe, Kyoto now seems to be back in form. They totally outplayed Tokushima, and although they are still only in 4th, they can go past Vegalta with a win next round as Vegalta’s won’t play then.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Vegalta 2 - Cerezo 1 - Report

Cerezo's race for promotion took a real blow as they lost their first match in 10 games away at Vegalta Sunday. As the 4 teams currently ahead of them all won, Cerezo might find themselves too far behind now. But, if they can win all their remaining matches, Cerezo will end up with 87 points. And last season 86 points were enough to get 3rd place, so there's still a chance. Apart from the final match against Verdy at home, all of Cerezo's remaining matches are fairly easy ones.

Vegalta Yurtec Stadium


Cerezo didn't play particularly good in the first half, and looked inferior to the home team at times. Especially in physique, as Vegalta "bullied" them with rough play almost through the entire match. Vegalta looked dangerous on the counter-attack as well, and their wings as well as Lopes created much. It had to take a penalty-kick for them to score though, as DF Sugai scored his 6th goal of the season in the 37th minute to make it 1-0 for the home team. Cerezo had made some changes prior to this match, like placing Haneda, who recently have filled one of the central defender roles, on the wing, and dropping one of the best players in all of J2 recently, Kagawa. Haneda had to go off right before the end of the 1st half, which opened up for Yasuhito Morishima. Morishima and Komatsu lined up at the front, while Kakitani and Furuhashi who both prefer the striker role took each their wing.

But as offensive as it might sound, it seemed to pay off, as Cerezo looked much better after the break. The rhytm in their play was back, and DF Kazuya Maeda equalized just 11 minutes into the half. The goal came from a corner, and Maeda showed great strength and timing to head it past the Vegalta keeper. However, just 5 minutes later Kakitani did a mistake on the left wing, which saw the Vegalta winger find Bandai in the box with a pin-point accurate cross. Bandai made no mistakes, and made it 2-1 to the home team which saw the vast number of home fans cheer like crazy.

Cerezo had several chances to equalize after that, but poor finishing from especially Komatsu left them with just the single goal. Komatsu's sudden dip in form might have cost Cerezo too many points already, and Levir Culpi might should consider dropping him for the next game.

Midway through the half Culpi replaced Komatsu with Sakemoto, but it didn't have the effect he hoped for. Vegalta's star Lopes, who's allegedly one of UrawaRed's main targets for next season, received a straight red card for hitting a Cerezo player in the 89th minute. It was too late for Cerezo do turn the game around then. But if Lopes, who arguably are Vegalta's most important player is to be suspended for several matches now, we might see them drop some points. Lopes will either way be highly missed by Vegalta.

So, with only 6 games left to play, Cerezo now have to hope the other teams might slip up, and just do their best to win the remaining matches. Time will tell if it will be enough.

Goals: V: Sugai 44, Bandai 61 C: Maeda 56
Chances: Vegalta 16 - Cerezo 12
Cards: V: 1 red / 1 yellow - C: 1 yellow ( Furuhashi)

Vegalta's famous cheerleaders


Cerezo lineup:
GK:Yoshida
DF: Yanagisawa, Maeda,Ezoe,Ze Carlos
MF: Haneda, Ale,Germano, Kakitani
FW: Komatsu, Furuhashi

Substitutes for Cerezo:
Yasuhito Morishima ---> Kenji Haneda 44
Noriyuki Sakemoto ---> Rui Komatsu 70

Attendance: 17,481

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Vegalta - Cerezo preview


Probable starting line-ups

Vegalta Sendai
-
Cerezo Osaka


In their last meeting, Cerezo played Vegalta at home, where they won 4-3 after a last minute goal by substitute Yasuhito Morishima. Neither of the teams really couldn’t afford to lose this, and instead of lying low and wait for the opponent to come forward and take them on counter-attack, both teams played fast-paced, attacking football. Vegalta were first to score, 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 as 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 in injury-time. Cerezo outshot Vegalta 13-10, and to be fair, it was a deserved win.Vegalta won the 2 other matches this season, 2-0 away and 1-0 at home. All previous meetings gives us 2-0-3 for Vegalta.
Vegalta’s home form is 2-3-1 and only 5-4 goal aggregate from those 6 matches. They finally scored some goals again in their last match away at Sagan, where they won 3-0. They got 2-2-1 on last 5 home and away. Cerezo are decent but not great away, with 3-1-2. They drew 2 of their last 3 matches, and are in need of a victory again.They have 7-2-0 on the last 9 matches though, so their form is still great.
The loser here won’t be out of the promotion race, but every game is a cup-game now and they can’t afford too many lost points.
Vegalta looks set to field the same squad as last match, while according to Yahoo! Cerezo will do some changes especially among their offensive players. Kagawa and Morishima is set to be rested ( perhaps due to fatigue and U-22 commitments in Qatar earlier this week).That means Furuhashi is set to start at left-wing and alongside Komatsu upfront comes the 17 year old wonderkid Kakitani. A brave move, but Kakitani scored a nice goal against Sanga last round, so it might pay off. With form and all, I hold Cerezo as small favorites here.
CEREZO WIN

Friday, October 19, 2007

J2 Match Reports - Round 45



Consadole Sapporo
-
Thespa Kusatsu
2-1
Consadole bounced back from 2 poor defeats to beat the visiting Thespa side 2-1 last round. But although they won, they didn’t impress, and a relatively poor side like Thespa matched their play for most of the match. Consadole scored an early goal through a header from topscorer Davi and in the 18th minute they were already 2-0 up after Sunakawa fired home a well-placed shot. But despite being 2 goals up, the game looked quite even and Consadole invited Thespa back in the game by laying low in defence and through some poor passing. We didn’t see that many chances to either of the teams, but the game always had a nerve, as it was obviously a very important match for Consadole. With 1 minute left to play,Thespa’s Sakurada reduced, but by then it was too little too late and they lost 2-1. Both teams had 8 shots each, and it could have gone both ways. But it’s important to win on bad days too, and Consadole did just enough to do that this match. For the remaining home matches, Consadole will play in the much bigger and high-tech Sapporo Dome instead of Atsubetsu, which is a much more intimate stadium. That’s because of the climate in Sapporo, as the snowy season is approaching. Whether Consadole will do better or worse in the Dome remains to be seen, but they will probably get some extra support as the matches played in the Dome usually attracts a few thousands more.
Sagan Tosu
-
Vegalta Sendai
0 - 3
Vegalta also bounced back last round from some poor recent outings as they beat Sagan away with 3-0. It was however Sagan who created most chances, so the scoreline is a bit flattering. Sagan were by far the best team before the break, but still had to see themselves 0-1 down after a goal by MF Chiba in the 25th minute. Vegalta’s passing looked really poor, and they didn’t create much beside the goal. In defence though, Vegalta looked solid as usual. Onl their last 10 games, they’ve only conceded 4 goals, which is a very impressive record.
In the 2nd half, things evened out more,and midway through the half the Urawa Reds target Lopes made it 2-0 from the penalty-spot. And when their topscorer Hiroki Bandai scored a 3rd, the little hope Sagan had of getting back into the game disappeared. A strong win for Vegalta, and maybe a proof that Vegalta are back in business again, after some poor outings recently. Sagan outshot Vegalta 11-8.
Tokyo Verdy 1969
-
Shonan Bellmare
3-0
Verdy played one of their best matches of the season last round, when they humiliated a visiting Shonan side by 3-0. After being fouled himself at the edge of the box, Verdy star Hulk scored from the following free-kick to give Verdy the lead already in the 7th minute.More were to come, and some very inspiring play from the 3 brazilians ( Hulk, Diego and Silva) ended with Diego finding Silva with a beautiful through-pass who easily made it 2-0 in the 31st minute. Bellmare didn’t create a thing, and the lead could have been much bigger had Verdy managed to turn their possession into more goals/chances.
The 2nd half continued the way the 1st ended, with Verdy dominating. In the 54th minute the veteran defender Yukio Tsuchiya headed home a pass from another veteran Hattori and made it 3-0 for the home team. With that, Verdy seemed happy and slacked off for the rest of the match. Shonan came to some chances as well, but the Verdy keeper Takagi made a good job and kept a clean sheet. Both teams had 11 shots each, but Verdy were by far the best team. With this win, Verdy now has 11-1 in goal-aggregate and 9 points from their last 3 matches, which is nothing else than impressive.
Ehime FC
-
Montedio Yamagata
3 - 1
Ehime are in really good form now, with 3 wins in a row and unbeaten for 4 games. With this win,they now have a 7 point lead to Thespa in 11th, so their current 10th place looks pretty safe. This was actually Ehime’s first win over Montedio in their 8th try. Ehime first and foremost did a brilliant job in defence this match, and looked compact through the match. And in Josimar, they finally have a striker capable of scoring goals on a regular basis, which he proved today with 2 nice shots, one before the break and one right after. Right-back Takasugi scored his first ever J.League goal as well, when made it 3-0 in the 53rd minute.
Ehime looked happy with that, and let Montedio more into the match. They had several chances to score, but had to wait until the 84th minute for their consolation goal which came through Kitamura. Despite being outshot 8-14, Ehime took a deserved win.

Mito Hollyhock
-
Tokushima Vortis
1 -0
In the clash between the 2 bottom-placed teams in the league, Mito took a much-needed win against Tokushima last round. With this win, the gap between the teams are only 4 points, and Mito now eyes an opportunity to leapfrog away from the last place past Tokushima. DF Yoshimoto turned out to be the hero for Mito, but he could easily have become the villain as well. Yoshimoto put Mito 1-0 up in the 20th minute, but received a yellow card for taking his shirt off while celebrating. In the 80th minute, he received a 2nd yellow card, and were sent off. Luckily for him and Mito, Tokushima failed to exploit their 1 man up advantage, and Mito could win it. The game itself was quite entertaining, although neither of the teams played thrilling football. Tokushima, with their 2 big forwards Andrè and Silva, looped high balls forward for most of the match, which caused one or two problems for the much smaller Mito defenders, but none of them resulted in any goals. Mito looked the most determined squad though, and it was a fair result.Tokushima outshot the home-

Yoichiro Kakitani's goal vs KyotoSanga

Kakitani's 2nd goal of the season, after a beautiful through-pass from Shinji Kagawa.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Kyoto Sanga 2 - Cerezo Osaka 2



What a comeback!

Cerezo scored twice within the last 3 minutes to salvage a very important point. With a loss here, Cerezo's chances would have taken a real blow as all the other top teams won this weekend.

Kyoto opened the game best, and immediately put the visiting Cerezo side under pressure. Some of the Cerezo players seemed to suffer under the extra pressure such a big game has. Especially Kagawa and Hamada looked nervous, and their dribbling raids were easily stopped.
So, it was fully deserved when Paulinho made it 1-0 to Kyoto in the 25th minute. Kyoto played very aggressive through the entire match, which the number of cards understates. Cerezo only had 1 shot on goal in the first half, and looked utterly poor.

The 2nd half opened with a red-card for for Kyoto's MF Takaaki after he received his 2nd yellow card in the 50th minute. With 11 against 10, Cerezo now started to push more forward, creating more and more chances. Cerezo choose to attack from the flanks only, and both Kagawa and Hamada, who looked much better after the break, came to several crosses. The co-ordination between the crosser and the receiver ( usually Furuhashi or Komatsu) weren't the best though, so it didn't result in any goals. Furuhashi, who have been so good all season, looked a bit tired this match, and might deserve a rest soon. Komatsu weren't at his best either, constantly running into offside. Kyoto managed to create something on their own as well, and made it 2-0 with only 15 minutes left to play through MF Daigo Watanabe, who came on for Andrè 10 minutes earlier. Normally that would have killed the game off, but Kyoto once again slipped up in the dying minutes. First, substitute and wonderkid Yoichiro Kakitani made it 1-2 before topscorer Furuhashi equalized in the 89th minute.

Kakitani & Furuhashi


A very entertaining match, and 2-2 is probably a fair result as both teams had 14 shots each. Cerezo, playing almost a half with 11 against 10, might should have gotten more from it though.

Cerezo are now undefeated for 9 games, which is pretty strong. Coach Levir Culpi seems to have made a really good job with Cerezo, and hopefully it will result in a top 3 finish when the season is over. Culpi deserves critique for being too loyal with his fellow brazilians though, as both Ze Carlos and especially Germano looked really off the form this match. Germano have been struggling before as well, and if it continues he might become a liability for Cerezo.
¨
Goals: K: Paulinho 25, Watanabe 76 C: Kakitani 87, Furuhashi 89
Chances: Kyoto 14 - Cerezo 14
Cards: Kyoto 1 red, 3 yellow - C: 1 yellow (Kagawa)

Cerezo lineup:
GK: Yoshida
DF: Yanagisawa,Maeda,Haneda, Ze Carlos
MF: Hamada, Ale, Germano, Kagawa
FW: Furuhashi, Komatsu

Substitutes:
Kakitani --> Hamada 80
Hamada --> Komatsu 80
Attendance: 14,304

Saturday, October 13, 2007


VS

Probable lineup (Cerezo in red) :

Kyoto Sanga F.C.
-
Cerezo Osaka

In their last meeting, Cerezo took a nice 2-1 win at home.Cerezo had to play with a patched-up defence as Maeda was out, but even without him Cerezo did a brilliant job in defence, and denied Kyoto much chances.
Cerezo took an early lead in the 18th minute through midfielder Ale 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 quite nicely put Cerezo 2-1 up. 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.
Cerezo also won the other home match, 3-2, and managed 1-1 in Kyoto their previous time there. All previous meetings gives us 1-3-3 for Kyoto, which tells us that Cerezo is a team they usually struggle against. Kyoto’s form is not so good with only 2 points in their last 3 matches.They’ve had a tendency to drop points in the dying minutes, which suggests that the players struggles with fatigue and are probably in need of a rest. Their home form is a mediocre 2-2-2. Cerezo on the other hand, are in great form with 7-1-0 on last 8. But it’s at home Cerezo takes the majority of their points, and away they got 3-0-3 on last 6. Overall this season, Cerezo rank no higher than the 8th best away team in the league ( while they are the 2nd best home team). Both teams looks like fielding the same team as previous matches, apart from Rui Komatsu most likely taking Yasuhito Morishima’s place up front alongside Furuhashi. But Komatsu have proved his worth on several occasions this season, and will probably do just as good a job as Morishima.
With the teams current form, and previous meetings, Cerezo are natural favorites here. But Cerezo’s poor away record goes against them, so they might struggle here. Earlier this season, Cerezo has had a tendency to collapse as well in important matches, but for now it looks like the team has ”grown” past that problem. I think form and fitness will play an important role here, so I’ll rate Cerezo as small favorites.
CEREZO WIN

Update: Kyoto’s coach Minobe got fired 1 hour ago, and in steps Hisashi Kato, a former defender of the Japan NT in the late 70’s / early 80’s. I haven’t found other info about him yet, like coaching history etc, but it will be interesting to see what effect this will have on the Kyoto team. To fire the coach just 1 day before the match of the season might not be a smart thing, but then again, alot of teams get a boost when they sign a new coach. However, I still think Cerezo will win this one.




J2 round 45 - Preview Sunday's matches

Ehime FC
-
Montedio Yamagata

In their last meeting, Ehime lost 1-0 away after pretty much being outplayed for most of the match. Ehime defended with all players behind the ball for 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.
Montedio also won the 2 other matches this season, 1-0 away and 3-1 at home. All previous meetings gives us 5-2-0 for Montedio.
Ehime’s form is pretty good for a bottom-half team, with 2-1-0 on last 3, which includes a strong 1-0 away win at Vegalta. Their home form is a decent 2-2-2. Montedio have only picked up 1 point from their last 3 matches, but they met 3 of the top teams those matches.Their away form is 1-3-2.For this match, Ehime has to play without 2 important members who are out with suspension, which will only help Montedio’s case. So despite Ehime’s decent form, I think they will struggle here, and the most they can hope for is a point. Montedio were unlucky not to win against Vegalta last round, and should have gotten more from the 1-2 loss against Avispa too. Both teams are missing their best striker, and for Ehime it’s even more worrying as their other regular goalscorer Uchimura also is out.
MONTEDIO WIN

Mito Hollyhock
-
Tokushima Vortis

In their last meeting, Mito took a fine 1-0 away win after Mito starlet Shohei Ogura fired home a beautiful shot from 15 metres out that went past everyone. It was an even match, where both teams had a fair amount of dangerous chances. GK Honma in the Mito goal once again did a brilliant job, and kept a clean sheet. Tokushima played really tough ( as usual),but the technical Mito players proved to be too fast for them. Tokushima had 9 hots to Mito’s 8. The 2 other meetings both ended draws, 1-1 and 0-0. Mito holds the upper hand over Tokushima, with an impressive 4-3-0 on all previous meetings. Mito have gone 7 games without a win now, and ended a 6-game losing streak with a 0-0 draw at Thespa last round. Their home form is 1-2-3. Tokushima have only taken 1 point in their last 4 matches, but have impressed at home in some of their previous matches. Away, they’ve only managed 0-2-4 on last 6 and holds a 1-7 goal difference in those matches.
Mito have only managed to win 2 times at home this season, and has here a golden opportunity to make that 3. Tokushima looks shaky, and Mito holds a psychological advantage over them with their great record against them before. Tokushima are also the 2d worst away team in the league, which should strenghten Mito’s chances.
MITO WIN

Friday, October 12, 2007

J2 round 45 Preview - Saturday's games


Preview Saturday’s matches:

Consadole Sapporo
-
Thespa Kusatsu

Their last meeting was in Kusatsu, where the visiting Consadole side 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. Thespa won their other home match 2-1, and managed a nice 2-2 draw in Sapporo. All previous meetings gives us 3-3-1 for Consadole. Both teams are quite defensively orientated, but only on 1 occasion have we seen less than 3 goals in their meetings. Consadole’s poor form continued last round, where they deservedly lost 1-0 away at Cerezo. On the last 8 matches, they’ve only taken 4 points ( 1-1-6). Their home form isn’t much either, with 2-2-2 on last 6. Thespa on the other hand, drew their 3rd straight game against Mito last round, and have drawn 8 of the last 12 matches. That’s not too bad, but the problem is they’re not winning, with just 1 win from those 12. On the last 6 away they got 1-3-2.
Thespa are the team that draw most matches in J2 by a big margin, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see another draw here like last time. Consadole are in awful form, and currently look like they’re dropping out of the top 3. They are a better team than Thespa though, and if they could just find their composure again they should win this easily. Most likely a DRAW.
Sagan Tosu
-
Vegalta Sendai

The teams met just a month ago, where Vegalta took their 3rd 1-0 win a row. It was a pretty evenly played match, with some big chances for both teams. Vegalta always looked more dangerous though, and probably deserved the win more than Sagan.
They had to wait until the 85th minute before they scored their goal though, as Lopes were clipped down just outside the edge of the box. Hiroki Bandai, who scored a hat-trick against Sagan earlier this season, neatly lifter the ball over the wall to make it 1-0 for Vegalta. Vegalta had 12 shots to Sagan’s 11. Vegalta won the other home match quite comfortably 5-2, while Sagan won their first home match 1-0. All previous meetings gives us 3-0-4 for Sagan.
Sagan’s form has taken a dip, and they’ve only managed 2 points from their last 5 matches. Their home form is not so bad, with 3-2-1 on last 6. Vegalta also seem a little rusty with only 1 win in their last 4 games. Their main problem lies in attack, as they don’t manage to score more than 1 goal pr game. Their away form is quite good though, with 4-1-1 on last 6.
It’s a pretty open match, and Vegalta can easily drop more points here and with that fall further behind top 3. I doubt we’ll see that many goals, as Vegalta neither concedes or scores goal nowadays.4 of the last 5 meetings have ended with 1-0 wins for one of the teams also.
SAGAN WIN
Tokyo Verdy 1969
-
Shonan Bellmare


Their last meeting were in Bellmare, and Tokyo must have been left gutted as Shonan equalized in the 89th minute to make it a tie. Hulk were on target again for Tokyo, as he easily put the visitors 1-0 up in the 15th minute. He should have scored at least one more though, but weren’t as effective as he usual are this time. Shonan got their defender Tamura sent off right before the break, and now everyone thought Tokyo would run away with it. Tokyo have to blame rued chances for not winning this, as they played almost half the game 11 against 10. But Tokyo got a man sent off themselves, with 7 minutes to play asYukio Tsuchiya, the highly influental man in defence received the marching order. Shonan were quick to exploit the whole in the Tokyo defence, and got their equalizer in the 89th minute through brazilian Marquez. According to chances and play, Tokyo deserved the win, but Shonan put in a great effort with only 10 men and defended well.Tokyo had 17 shots to Shonan’s 10. Shonan won their other home match quite easily 3-0, while Verdy took a 1-0 win in Tokyo.All previous meetings gives us 3-1-3.
Verdy’s form is brilliant, with 5 wins in a row and unbeaten for 9 games. Recently,they’ve been scoring plenty of goals as well as closing this up at the back. Their home is an impressive 5-1-0. Shonan aren’t too bad themselves, with 2-2-0 on last 4 against top-notch competition. With a win here, they will still be in the run for top 3, so it’s quite a big game for them. Their away form is so-so, with only 2-1-3 on last 6.
In Verdy’s current form, it’s hard to see who will stop them, but Shonan held both Cerezo and Kyoto to 2-2 draws recently.
VERDY WIN.

J2 Match Reports - Round 44



Avispa Fukuoka
-
Kyoto Sanga F.C.
1-1
Kyoto once again slipped up in the dying minutes, as Avispa equalized 3 minutes into extra time. But still, Kyoto must find themselves abit lucky to even get a point at Hakata-no-mori as the home team created the most chances. However, the first half showing was pretty mediocre from Avispa, and it was Kyoto who took the lead already in the 2nd minute through veteran defender and WC 2002 captain for Japan Ryozo Morioka. He headed home a beautiful cross to score his 1st goal of the season. After the early goal, Kyoto defended well to stay ahead for the remainder of the half.
Avispa looked much more dangerous after the break and created many dangerous situations up front. Coach Pierre Littbarski made some tactical changes as time went by, and they finally got their reward in extra extra-time, when MF Nunobe exploited an error from Kyoto Df Teshima at a corner-kick and quite easily scored the equalizer. Once again, fatigue and lack of concentration cost Kyoto some valuable points ( which also happened at Bellmare last round), and the players clearly looks in need of a rest. Next up is a tough match against Cerezo, but with home-advantage they might be able to come out of the Kansai-derby on top. Avispa outshot Kyoto 14-6, and deserved more than just the point.
Shonan Bellmare
-
Sagan Tosu
3 - 1
As most pundits predicted, Shonan won quite comfortably over a visiting Sagan side on wednesday. However, it was the away side that opened the scoring through their prolific goalscorer Yoshihito Fujita. Fujita scored his 21st goal of the season, and have been very efficient this season. He has a total of 78 shots, while for example Paulinho, who also got 21 goals have fired off almost twice as many with his 154 shots. Sagan looked quite aggressive already from the start and probably took Shonan by surprise. Shonan didn’t need much time to get even though, as MF Nozomu Kato scored a beautiful long-range goal that left the Sagan keeper stranded. In the 2nd half, Shonan took more and more over, and were able to win back possession as the Sagan players looked more and more tired. Eduardo Marquez made it 2-1 in the 65th minute, and highly-rated midfielder Adiel added just 8 minutes to secure the victory for the home team. Both teams had 12 shots each, but Shonan fully deserved the win.
Shonan are now 5 points behind Vegalta Sendai in 4th, and still got a small chance of making a top 3 finish. Among the top 6 teams, only Verdy got a better goal-difference, and Shonan are in pretty good form as well. So it might be a bit early to write them off just yet. Much will be decided in the next match, when Shonan are up against Verdy away.
Thespa Kusatsu
-
Mito Hollyhock
0-0
In a hard-fought battle between 2 of the minnows of J2, ”draw-masters” Thespa once again ended up sharing the spoils with their competitor, for the 17th time this season. It wasn’t really a well-played match, with 2 defensive teams clashing. Mito in fact looked best among the 2, and had some nice offensive combinations which unfortunately for them didn’t result in any goals. Mito also dominated possession, but played very cautious the whole match. Thespa came closest of scoring, and they had some fat chances in the 2nd half that didn’t go in. No surprise that it ended a scoreless draw, and if Mito win against Tokushima next game, who holds the place above them in the table, the gap between them will only be 4 points. Mito outshot the home team 12-8 this match.
Tokushima Vortis
-
Tokyo Verdy 1969
0-3
Verdy, who are along with Cerezo the form-team in J2, continued their great run away at Tokushima, where they picked up a nice 3-0 win. Nozomi Hiroyama, who were given the chance this match, scored already in the 4th minute which put Verdy in control. But Tokushima proved to be a tough match for the visitors, and fought hard to get back in the game. Their coach Imai who’s a real tactician, closed down the middle with a 4-1-4-1 formation, which forced Verdy to change their tactic into attacking from the flanks. but with such a defensive formation, it were always gonna be hard for the sole Tokushima striker to score goals, and at the end it didn’t really worked the way Imai wanted it to. Midway through the 2nd half veteran DF Yukio Tsuchiya scored after heading home a corner, and star-striker Hulk rounded it up 5 minutes before full-time. A hard-fought and well-deserved win for Verdy, who looks unstoppable now. Coach Rui Ramos, who came very very close of being sacked when they lost 7 games in a row, has managed to turn it around by changing formation and it looks like it might result in a top 3 finish for them. Verdy outshot Tokushima 11-6.
Vegalta Sendai
-
Montedio Yamagata
1-1
Vegalta have like Kyoto, had a tendency of conceding late goals recently, and did so again home against Montedio wednesday. DF Okayama put Vegalta 1-0 up in the 53rd minute after heading home a nice cross from the flank. That was one of the first real chances in the game, and up to this point it had been a pretty dull performance. Things opened up as the game progressed, and Montedio managed to turn the play around, putting the home team under pressure for most of the 2nd half. With just a few minutes left to play, Montedio were rewarded with a penalty, and former Vegalta hero Nobuyuki Zaizen made no mistakes from the penalty spot. 2 years ago, the very Zaizen missed a vital penalty for Vegalta in the same stadium, and overcome a personal complex by making it better this time. Vegalta didn’t look good at all this match, and were outshot 13-5 by the visitors. Once again, Vegaltal looked really bad upfront, especially after Okayama’s goal. They need to do better for the rest of the matches, and can’t afford to drop points like this much more.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Cerezo Osaka 1 - Consadole Sapporo 0



Cerezo Osaka took their 7th win in 8 matches when they overcome a visiting Consadole side on Wednesday. Consadole, who still holds the 1st place, have not impressed lately, and lost their 5th game in last 6 here.

Tatsuya Furuhashi scored his 14th goal this season in the 35h minute, which proved to be the only goal in the match. It was some very nice passing between Ale,Hamada and Kagawa that lead to Furuhashi firing home the shot.
Consadole never looked on par with Cerezo this match, and had to become physical to stop tthe many Cerezo attacks. Cerezo's technical play were once again brilliant, and we saw some nice dribbling skills as well from the wingers. Especially Shinji Kagawa impressed once again, and deserve to be called man of the match.

Coach Levir Culpi decided to start with Yasuhito Morishima instead of Rui Komatsu upfront alongside Furuhashi, after Morishima's brilliant performance in the Emperor's Cup last weekend. Morishima did a very good job, and it's promising to see Cerezo having 3 top strikers all capable of scoring goals. Haneda and Maeda once again played together in central defence, as Kenjiro Ezoe is still in need of some rest.

All in all it was a very good performance from Cerezo once again, but the win should have been much higher according to chances. Only 1 goal from 17 shots understates that, and perhaps some more shooting / finishing practice should take place...
Besides Kagawa who were brilliant, also RB Yanagisawa and goalscorer Furuhashi did a really good job.

Cerezo lineup:
GK: Yoshida
DF: Yanagisawa,Haneda,Maeda,Ze Carlos
MF: Hamada, Ale,Germano, Kagawa
FW: Y.Morishima, Furuhashi

Goals: Furuhashi 35 ( Kagawa)
Subs: Y.Morishima --> Komatsu ( 71st minute)
MOM: Shinji Kagawa

Attendance: 5578

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Emperor Cup 3rd Round report


The Emperor Cup


Cerezo Osaka - Honda Rock 4-2

Last saturday Cerezo quite comfortably overcame a visiting Honda side 4-2 in Nagai 2nd stadium. The man of the match was Yasuhito Morishima, who got a rare start at the cost of Tatsuya Furuhashi. Cerezo didn't do that many changes to their usual starting lineup, much due to the cause that they hadn't played a match in 10 days.
Shinji Kagawa opened the scoring in the 35th minute but Honda equalized just a minute later, whci were the only goals in the first half. Honda played with big passion, and used their physical strength really well without getting dirty. In the 2nd half, the difference in the teams got more clearer as Cerezo geared up a few notches, scoring 2 quick goals. First, in the 50th minute Yasuhito Morishima scored from the penalty-spot. The Honda GK came very close to save it, but Morishima's shot were too hard. Kagawa scored his 2nd midway through the half before Honda got an equalizer in the 85th minute.
Morishima took all doubt away as he quite beautifully converted Hamada's cross in the 89th minute to make it 4-2. Cerezo had 7-8 big chances, and might should have scored a couple of more goals. And the fact that they conceded 2 goals against a "smaller" team is not a good sign.

But we'll probably see a fully fit Cerezo team against Consadole tomorrow, and hopefully another 3-pointer for the Flaming Pinks.

Cerezo lineup for the Honda match:
GK: Yoshida
DF:Yanagisawa,Maeda,Haneda,Ze Carlos
MF: Sakemoto,Ale,Germano,Kagawa
FW: Komatsu,Y.Morishima

Subs: Yamamoto, Yamashita,Hamada,Niwa,Kakitani
Attendance: 2201

For the other J2 teams, most of them rested some players since it was against semi-professional teams. Surprisingly, the only J2 teams who lost were the top 4 teams Kyoto, Consadole, Vegalta and Verdy. Reports say atleast Kyoto and Vegalta fielded 2nd string squads, while the others mixed regulars with some of their youths and reserve players.

Cerezo Osaka - Consadole Sapporo PREVIEW


VS




Probable lineups:



Cerezo Osaka
-
Consadole Sapporo

In their last meeting, without really dominating, Consadole won 3-0 home. 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 also won the 2 other matches this season, 1-0 both home and away. That means that Cerezo hasn’t managed to score against Consadole yet.
Cerezo’s form is the best in the league, with 7-1-0 on last 8 matches. Their home form is 5-1-0 with 16 scored goals. Consadole on the other hand, looks really bad now, and have 1-1-5 on last 6. They’ve conceded more than 3 goals in 3 of their latest 5 matches, which is nothing like the Consadole team we saw earlier this season.
So, although Cerezo have never scored or taken points against Consadole, I hold them as a pretty big favourite here. Consadole even lost to a semi-professional team in the cup this weekend, while Cerezo won pretty comfortably 4-2 ( both teams fielded alot of reserve-players though).
CEREZO WIN

J2 round 44 Previews

Avispa Fukuoka
-
Kyoto Sanga F.C.

Their last meeting was a thrilling encounter in Kyoto, where the home team won 4-3 after being 1-3 down by half-time. Avispa’s Miyazaki scored twice within the first 6 minutes to give the away team an early 2-0 lead. But despite being under, and getting DF Kakuda sent off in the 25th minute, Kyoto were the dominant team and got one back in the 28th minute through Paulinho. Avispa’s brazilian FW Alex made it 1-3 just 3 minutes later, and Avispa now looked certain to win it. But immediately after the goal, DF Ceccoli also received a red-card, meaning they had to play 10 vs 10 for the rest of the match.
Kyoto looked a totally different team after the break, and coach Minobe must have held an inspirational speech as Kyoto dominated the 2nd half from begininning to end. Midway through the half, Kyoto scored 3 quick goals within 7 minutes. Paulinho scored his 2nd, while Andrè and Tiago scored the other. The brazilian imports reallyt showed their worth this match. It was a well-deserved win as Kyoto outshot Avispa 20-7. But neither of the teams defensive play were that impressing, and Kyoto has to play without important DF
Kakuda this match too.Kyoto won the other home match 2-1, while they took an impressive 4-2 victory away. All previous meetings gives us 5-0-0 for Kyoto, and all matches were high-scoring ones. Avispa’s form has been so-so lately, but they got 2-1-0 on their last 3. Their home form is 4-0-2.Avispa still has a slim chance of top 3 this season, but it seems a very hard task. Kyoto’s form has been mixed as well, losing very surprisingly to Meiji University Club in the Emperor’s Cup. Their away form is only 2-2-2. Only 2 wins in their last 6 matches is not worthy a team battling for 1st place, and they dropped to 3rd last round when they drew 2-2 with Shonan. It’s a pretty open match as both teams are not in their greatest form. Kyoto’s perfect record against Avispa gives them a psychological advantage, and they also got more to play for then the home team. Im not sure Kyoto will win it though, and a draw seems just as probable as an away win.
DRAW

Shonan Bellmare
-
Sagan Tosu

Their last meeting was cut short due to bad weather and stopped after 30 minutes of play. . At that time, Shonan led 1-0, but that goal were ”deleted”, and the game had to start from the beginning again. It was played one month later, which is something Sagan must find themselves happy with, as they took an early lead through MF Takachi in the 16th minute. Sagan looked the better team for most of the match, and it was deserved that they had the lead by half-time. Nagasato equalized for Shonan 20 minutes into the 2nd half though, but as Kim scored his 2nd goal in 2 matches 10 minutes before full-time, Sagan ended up as winners. Sagan outshot Shonan 16-8, and took a nice win. However, Shonan won the 2 other matches pretty convincingly, 4-1 at home and a whopping 5-0 victory away early in the season. All previous meetings gives us 2-0-5 for Shonan, so Sagan holds the edge.
Shonan met 3 of the top 5 teams in their last 3 matches, and managed 1-2-0 against them, scoring 7 goals.Although that is a very good record, it means Shonan probably are too far behind top 3 now to have a realistic chance of promotion. Their home form is decent but not great, with 2-3-1 on last 6. Sagan have only picked up 2 points from their last 4 matches, and have not been that good lately. Their away form is 1-3-2.
Shonan can here field their best possible lineup, while Sahan got some injury problems. With Shonan’s superior form and on paper better team, I think it will be a pretty easy home win for them.
SHONAN WIN
Thespa Kusatsu
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Mito Hollyhock

In their last meeting, Mito played Thespa at home, and have to blame rued chances for not picking up the win. Mito were overall the best team, but with poor finishing they failed (as usually) to find the net.. 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. Thespa won the 2 other matches this season, 1-0 at home and 3-1 away. All previous meetings gives us 4-2-1 for Thespa, which have won all their home matches against Mito. These matches usually provides very few goals. Thespa’s form is neither good or bad, as they draw most of their matches. On the last 9 they got 1-6-2. Their home form is only 0-4-2 on last 6. Despite playing reasonably good football, Mito has now 6 losses in a row. But to their excuse they’ve met the 5 of the top 7 teams in those matches. Their away form is 1-1-4. Neither of the teams scores alot of goals, and they’ve been pretty bad in defence as well. Thespa got most to play for, as they struggle to keep Tokushima behind them.
DRAW

Tokushima Vortis
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Tokyo Verdy 1969

In their last meeting, Tokyo only just managed to beat the visiting Tokushima in a very closely contested game. Tokyo scored in the opening minute through FW Yuzo Funakoshi, and that proved to be the only goal in the match. Apart from the early goal, the Tokushima defence did a pretty good job neautralizing the dangerous Tokyo offence, and created some chances on their own as well. But overall it was a pretty dull match, that didn’t offer that much to the neautral spectator. Both teams had 8 shots each, but 1-0 for Verdy is a fair result. Tokushima won the other match in Tokyo very surprisingly 3-0, but that was in the middle of the Verdy-crisis earlier this season. Verdy won the first match in Tokushima 1-0.
Tokushima’s form is not the best, as they haven’t managed in 5 matches. They got 2-2-0 on their last 4 home matches though. Verdy are along with Cerezo the form team no.1 in the league with 6-2-0 on their last 8 matches. Last round they climbed to 2nd in the table, and looks pretty good now. Their away form is only 2-2-2 though.
You never really know what Tokushima side that will turn up, but with the current form and difference in quality, Verdy are most likely to win this. But Tokushima are capable of upsetting any team in the league, and managing atleast a draw. Verdy played really poor in the Emperor Cup match this weekend too, but they used a mix of regulars and reserve players.
VERDY WIN ( unfortunately...)
Vegalta Sendai
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Montedio Yamagata

In their last meeting,Vegalta drew 1-1 away at Montedio, after a late goal by substitute Nagai. The first half was pretty dull, and it didn’t happen much before Montedio scored in the 44th minute to go one-nil up. The game opened up more in the 2nd, as Vegalta had to go forward to chase the equalizing goal. But neither of the teams created that much chances though, and we didn’t see any more goals before in the 87th minute, when the aforementioned Nagai pounced in the equalizer. Vegalta had a chance to steal all points in injury-time, but the gamed ended 1-1, which was a fair result as Montedio had 8 shots to Vegalta’s 7. The other match in Yamagata also ended a draw, 3-3. Vegalta won the first home match pretty easily 2-0.All previous meetings gives us 2-4-1 for Vegalta.
Vegalta’s form has taken a dip the last 3 matches, as they lost 0-1 home against Ehime, and just managed to beat Mito 1-0 away. They got 5-1-1 on their last 7 matches though, so they seem to be on a flow. Their problem lies up front, and they’ve only managed 10 goals in their last 12 matches ( they’ve conceded 10 goals as well,which is pretty good). Their home form isn’t that good though, with 2-2-2 and only 4 scored goals. Before the loss against Avispa last round, Montedio had 4 wins in a row. On the last 6 they got 4-1-1, which is almost a revival for Montedio who looked really poor in the middle of the season. Their away form is 2-2-2, but also Montedio struggles up front with just 4 goals from those matches.
VEGALTA WIN

J2 Round 43 Match Reports

Montedio Yamagata
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Avispa Fukuoka
1-2
Avispa took a strong win away at Montedio last round, when they beat the hometeam 2-1.
Alex was once again the man who came to Avispa’s rescue, with 2 nice goals. He scored the first one already in the 4th minute from a beautiful distance shot which left the Montedio GK stranded. Avispa looked pretty solid in defence this match, and especially the 2 centre-backs did a brilliant job denying the Montedio strikers goals. Apart from the early goal, we didn’t saw many chances in the first half. Alex made it 2-0 with another good finish midway through the 2nd half, which literally took the game away from Montedio. Substitute Sasaki made it 1-2 in extra-time, but by then it was too late. Montedio outshot Avispa 10-7, but overall Avispa were the better team.
Sagan Tosu
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Thespa Kusatsu
1 - 1
Sagan and Thespa shared the spoils in what was a very bad game with few chances and generally bad play from both teams. Sagan were overall the better team, but can only blame themselves for not winning this. However, Thespa started the game best, and the Sagan coach had to substitute a player already in the first half to stop Thespa’s forward runs. Still, it was Thespa that took the lead through substitute Sato in the 53rd minute. The Sagan defence left Sato wide open, and it was easy for the striker to score. Sagan replied just a short time after, after an unlucky Thespa defender deflected the ball into his own net.
Thespa outshot Sagan 11-8, and a draw seemed most fair.
Shonan Bellmare
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Kyoto Sanga F.C.
2-2
Kyoto gave away a 2-0 lead in the last 6 minutes away at Shonan last round, which saw them drop 2 very valuable points. Andrè, who’s been looking really good lately, put the visitors ahead with a well-places shot already in the 13th minute. But actually it was the home team that looked most likely of scoring, and they should at least have gotten one back before the break. But that didn’t happen, and instead DF Nakatani doubled Sanga’s lead in the 46th minute. By then, the match looked pretty much decided already. But as time progressed, the difference in stamina of the players just grew stronger, as the Sanga players who have played pretty much all the matches this season looked more and more tired. Shonan have rotated alot more, and despite having a smaller squad than Kyoto, managed to field a decent line-up here. Shonan kept pressing, and finally got what they deserved with 4 minutes to play, as Ishihara exploited an error in the Kyot defence to make it 1-2. Now Shonan threw all players forward, chasing the equalizer. So, 2 minutes into extra-time substitute Nagasato broke free and scored a well-deserved equalizer.
Overall, Shonan were the best team here, and deserved more than just the point.Shonan outshot Sanga 11-7.

Ehime FC
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Tokushima Vortis
1 - 0
In what was a very dull and poor Shikoku-derby, Ehime won 1-0 at home last round. Over 6000 went to the game, which is pretty good for such a small club as Ehime. The big crowd didn’t get to see a particular good match though, as neither of the teams managed to create much. Especially Tokushima looked disappointing, after some nice matches lately. WE only saw a single goal, which came in the 75th minute. Brazilian FW Josimar finally broke free from the Tokushima defenders and neatly put the ball past the goalkeeper. Tokushima came very close in the dying minutes for an equalizer, but squandered the chance. Ehime outshot Tokushima 7-6, and all in all it was a fair win. Draw might should have been the ”correct” result though.
Mito Hollyhock
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Vegalta Sendai
0-1
Mito had a golden opportunity to finally beat Vegalta last round, as Vegalta got DF Chiba sent-off early in the first half. The match was played in heave rainfall, which affected both teams offensive play. We saw many personal errors from both teams, which made it a very open match. Mito created most chances, but poor finishing let them down. The prolific striker Hiroki Bandai didn’t have any problems finding the net though, and he smoothly put Vegalta 1-0 up 10 minutes into the 2nd half. Mito tried to reply, being 11 against 10, they pretty much were the leading team for the rest of the match. But despite being in control of the ball for most of the match, Mito didn’t look anything like how they’ve played recently.But with that being said, Vegalta didn’t really look that good either, so a draw would have been most fair. Mito outshot Vegalta 15-10.
Tokyo Verdy 1969
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Consadole Sapporo
5-1
Consadole took a real beating when they travelled to Tokyo last round. FW Hulk had to see a fellow brazilian steal the show this time, as Danilo scored a nice hat-trick. Already in the 14th minute, he had 2 goals to his tally as Tokyo were 2-0 up.That literally killed the game off, as Tokyo oozed confidence from then on, and Consadole looked more and more nervous as time passed by. The score was still 2-0 at the break, but it didn’t take long before Tokyo were 3-0 up, as midfielder Ono scored in the 51st minute. Hulk wanted in on it as well, and he easily made it 4-0 in the 75th minute before Consadole finally got a consolation goal through Ikeuchi who headed home Sunakawa’s cross from the right.
So, in injury-time Diego finally got his 3rd goal to fullfil his hattrick.Verdy outshot Consadole 17-10 and fully deserved the win. Consadole, who have looked so solid in defence all season, seemed to focus more on the attacking play this match, which clearly didn’t work out at all.They better stick to their regular tactic if they want to stay in 1st it seems.