Thursday, December 27, 2007

Transfer updates

GK Daisuke Tada have transferred from Cerezo to J2 rivals Ehime FC. Tada's best season by far for Cerezo were 2003, where he played a total of 20 matches. Actually that was Cerezo's first season in J1 in which they finished a decent 9th. The former U-19 and U-23 GK only played 24 matches for Cerezo. Best of luck to him at Ehime, where he will probably see more regular playing time than what he saw in Cerezo.

Another player who's left is Daisuke Yoneyama. He's been ona year-long rental to Tsagen Kanazawa, and recently made his move permanent. The compact midfielder were a frequent starter in 2004/2005, and got a total of 16 matches and 2 goals for Cerezo.

Ryuhei Niwa, who belongs to Vissel Kobe, extended his loan-spell at Cerezo until February 2009. Niwa played 23 matches for us last season and did a solid job from his left-back position when Ze Carlos were out with suspension or injuries. Niwa were a regular starter for Vissel, and with Ze Carlos gone, he will probably receive more playing time next season.

MF Takuya Miyamoto has been rented out to J2 rivals Montedio Yamagata for the next season. The little playmaker were somewhat surprisingly involved in a total of 28 matches last season, and usually did a solid job. However, with the introduction of Germano to the club, Miyamoto were showed out of the starting lineup and became a bench-warmer instead. Personally I rate Miyamoto only as a back-up player, and he probably won't be the biggest loss. He will most likely be a regular at Montedio though, and might gain some useful experience there. Best of luck to him.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all our readers!

Friday, December 21, 2007

*Update*

Tatsuya Furuhashi underwent surgery on his right foot today, and will be sidelined for 6 weeks. That still gives him plenty of time to get match-fit ahead of the 2008 season opener. Still no news on whether or not Furuhashi will stay at Cerezo though.

Ryuichi Dogaki (19) were released by Cerezo today, and will return to his University Kwansei Gakuin. Dogaki has been a member of U-16,U-17 and the U-18 NT, but didn't really manage to make an impact at Cerezo. Dogaki ended his Cerezo career with just 1 match under his belt. Good luck to him in the future.

For our female readers I can report that Cerezo is arranging "Osaka women's soccer clinic participation hope in January 2008". It's free of charge and will be held on Saturday the 19th of January at 12:00. More info to be found at Cerezo's official pages.

Finally, Shinji Kagawa has been called up to the U-19 National Team for the Qatar tournament which is held from the 15th to the 31st of January. Kagawa had to drop out of the previous training camp, so he's looking forward to "making an impact" as quoted by Cerezo's Official site.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Furuhashi to Gamba?!

Ze Carlos is already gone, will Furuhashi be the next man out?

According to Nikkan Sports Osaka, Gamba have made an offer of 200 Million Yen for our ace striker Tatsuya Furuhashi. However, Cerezo stated earlier that they won't sell him for less than 330 Million Yen, so nothing's decided yet.

With Magno Alves already gone, only Ryuji Bando and Bare worth mentioning are left in the Gamba attack. Both are highly rated, and it's not certain Furuhashi would receive as much playing time as he would want to, so it might not be the best move. Gamba are seemingly in line for FC Tokyo's veteran FW Lucas as well. However, Furuhashi is just as good as an offensive midfielder, and could very well knock Futagawa or Hashimoto out of the squad.

Albirex Niigata and Urawa Reds have also eyed the versatile striker, and could snap him in front of Gamba. The best thing would of course be if Furuhashi decided to stay in southern Osaka :)

(Thanks to SMB of the Tokyo Verdy blog for making me vary of it :) )

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Cerezo News

Shinji Kagawa won the J2 Newcomer of the Year award held by J's Goal. Among the rookies in J2 this season, there's no doubt Kagawa was the most prominent one, as he turned out to be one of our most important players this season. Cerezo had 2 other players among the top 5, as Yasuhito Morishima ended 3rd and Yoichiro Kakitani 5th. I will say Cerezo are the most talented club in J2 now, and things look good for next season as the young starlets only will get better.

Cerezo had 2 players in the run for the J2 Most Important Player award as well. Shinji Kagawa ended 4th in that poll, with our topscorer Tatsuya Furuhashi in 7th.

Junya Yamashiro, who've been loaned out to Sagan Tosu this season made his move permanent a couple of days ago. Yamashiro only played one match for Cerezo back in 2004. He's rated at Tosu though, and played 29 matches last season. Good luck to him :)

No news about Tatsuya Furuhashi yet, which I guess is good for Cerezo. Alot of clubs have showed their interest in him, but Cerezo's prize tag is quite high, so any potential buyers might get scared away by that. Seemingly, Cerezo is offering him a new contract as well to try to keep him at the club.

As Ze Carlos left the club earlier this month, we now have one freeforeign spot. Rumours has it that Cerezo is considering bringing back korean FW Shin-Young Kim who like Yamashiro, were loaned out to Sagan Tosu. Kim notched up 7 goals in 29 matches for Tosu ( as well as 1 for Cerezo before he left), and could do a good job for us. However, I would have preferred if we bought a brazilian striker with a solid goalscoring record instead of bringing back Kim.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

New faces

Hiroyuki Omata

Cerezo have brought in 2 new players during the day, DF Hiroyuki Omata from Shonan Bellmare. Omata played 31 matches last season, and will probably be a useful acquirement. Omata was a member of U-19 in 2002 and started his career with FC Tokyo. Omata got one match in J1 before he was loaned out to Shonan, which later turned into a permanent move. Omata have 78 matches under his belt and no goals.

We've brough in a new striker as well that plays for the U-19 team called Shiratani. Haven't found much info about him yet, but with so many forward talents in the club ( Kakitani, Morishima, Kokeguchi,Komatsu, Kim if he stays), as well as the replacement we'll most likely bring in for Furuhashi, Shiratani have a tough task breaking into the match squad.

Best of luck to both players!

Thank You Ze Carlos

Ze Carlos


That's the message on the offical Cerezo site, with the club and their fans thanking Ze Carlos for his contributions the 3 years he stayed at the club.

Ze Carlos was no doubt one of our most important players the last couple of seasons, with his best season being 2005, when we almost lifted the league trophy. During his time in Osaka, Ze Carlos played a total of 88 matches and notched up 16 goals. Not bad for a defensive midfielder/left back !

Ze Carlos & Tatsuya Furuhashi

Ze Carlos left Japan and Kansai Airport yesterday, where many fans turned up to pay their respect to the sympathic brazilian. Ze Carlos were quoted as saying he found it hard to leave Cerezo, and would love to go back sometime in the future.

As for Cerezo, it's a big loss. But Ryuhei Niwa stepped in for Ze Carlos on several occasions this season, and did a very good job. For example, in our last game vs Verdy, Niwa was arguably the man of the match, and also earned himself a place in J's Goal's Best Eleven in J2 that round.

Thanks again to Ze Carlos for his contributions, and best wishes for his future career!

Rumour Mill

Cerezo's 2 hotshots Shinji Kagawa and Yoichiro Kakitani both signed new contracts recently, which means we will see them in pink next year as well. Also, unless my translation got it wrong, Hiroaki Morishima signed under a new contract as well. Tetsuya Yamasaki has left the club, but since Yamasaki didn't receive any playing time at all this season it won't be a big loss. Yamasaki joined Cerezo in 2005, and got a total of 28 matches in '05 and '06. Best wishes to him with his future career.

Tatsuya Furuhashi on the other hand, seems to quit now, and several clubs have been linked with him. There was a rumour Urawa and Cerezo would do a swap-deal including Furuhashi and Washington, but that doesn't seem to be happening now. Albirex Niigata are the latest club declaring their interest for Furuhashi, and personally I think Furuhashi would fit better in a club like Albirex than Urawa. As Edmilson look bound for Urawa, Albirex needs a replacement and the Furuhashi/Kisho Yano combination up front next season for Albirex could cause trouble for most teams in J1.

No news yet on any potential new players for Cerezo, but we'll probably bring in a couple of re-inforcements eventually, and perhaps we'll see some fairly big names as well. Our brazilian contacts are great now, so it should be possible to bring in some names from there.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Cerezo's Player of The Year 2007

Cerezo's Unofficial Player of the Year Award goes to..... It's a tie!
Shinji Kagawa and Tatsuya Furuhashi both received 8 votes so they share the award.

Shinji Kagawa

Tatsuya Furuhashi



Furuhashi was our absolute most important offensive player, and became both our topscorer and the player with the most assists. Furuhashi might leave us for next season, and I don't blame him as he is too good for J2 anyway. A shame we didnt manage to win promotion this year which most likely would have encouraged Furuhashi to stay. Anyway, nothing is settled yet so we can still hope Furuhashi stays in Southern Osaka next year as well.

Shinji Kagawa have really had a breakthrough this season, and for an 18 year old player to dominate so much suggests a new star is born. Kagawa didn't receive much playing time in the first half of the season, but has been arguably our best player the last couple of months. Kagawa's main forces are his tremendous dribbling skills, as well as his playmaking abilities. With perhaps Japan's biggest striker talents in the club ( in Kakitani and Morishima ) , most of the focus have been around them, which have led to Kagawa being overlooked at times. But among the 3, Kagawa are the one who have been the most consistent player by far, and are now one of the first players Culpi puts in the starting line-up.

Congratulations to both players, and hopefully we'll see them both in a Cerezo shirt next season :)

Here are the full poll results:

Tatsuya Furuhashi - 8 votes
Shinji Kagawa - 8 votes

Yoichiro Kakitani - 2 votes
Ale - 1 vote
Kazuya Maeda - 1 vote

Friday, December 7, 2007

Cerezo Osaka end of season stats


Cerezo Osaka End of season stats:
Goals:
18 - Tatsuya Furuhashi
12 - Rui Komatsu
8 - Kazuya Maeda
6 - Yasuhito Morishima
5 - Ze Carlos
5 - Shinji Kagawa
4 - Germano
3 - Noriyuki Sakemoto
2 - Ale
2 - Yoichiro Kakitani
1 - Takuya Kokeguchi
1 - Kim
1 - Masayuki Yanagisawa
1 - Kota Fujimoto
1 - Noboru Nakayama


Assists:
9 - Tatsuya Furuhashi
5 - Ze Carlos
5 - Shinji Kagawa
2 - Takeshi Hamada
2 - Masayuki Yanagisawa
2 - Takuya Kokeguchi
2 - Ryuhei Niwa
1 - Kenji Haneda
1 - Noriyuki Sakemoto
1 - Kenjiro Ezoe
1 - Noboru Nakayama
1 - Yasuhito Morishima
1 - Yoichiro Kakitani
1 - Ale
1 - Germano
1 - Kota Fujimoto


Number of shots (top 5):
125- Tatsuya Furuhashi
62 - Ze Carlos
55 - Yasuhito Morishima
55 - Shinji Kagawa
49 - Rui Komatsu


Total minutes played :
4320 - Motohiro Yoshida ( max )
4087 - Tatsuya Furuhashi
3683 - Kazuya Maeda
3507 - Kenjiro Ezoe
3104 - Masayuki Yanagisawa
2987 - Ale
2776 - Shinji Kagawa
2693 - Ze Carlos
2395 - Takuya Miyamoto
2334 - Takeshi Hamada
2136 - Rui Komatsu
2035 - Kenji Haneda
1710 - Ryuhei Niwa
1500 - Yasuhito Morishima
1259 - Germano
1249 - Takuya Kokeguchi
1135 - Kota Fujimoto
1080 - Noriyuki Sakemoto
1046 - Yoichiro Kakitani
556 - Kim Shin Young
477 - Tatsuya Yamashita
398 - Noboru Nakayama
360 - Akihiro Sakata
352 - Takahito Chiba
248 - Hiroaki Morishima
59 - Ryuichi Dogaki


Red Cards:
1 - Kazuya Maeda
1 - Kenjiro Ezoe


Yellow Cards:
14- Ale
11- Ze Carlos
9 - Masayuki Yanagisawa
8 - Kenjiro Ezoe
8 - Kazuya Maeda
7 - Tatsuya Furuhashi
7 - Yasuhito Morishima
6 - Germano
5 - Kota Fujimoto
4 - Rui Komatsu
4 - Shinji Kagawa
4 - Takuya Miyamoto
3 - Motohiro Yoshida
3 - Kenji Haneda
3 - Takahito Chiba
3 - Ryuhei Niwa
2 - Hiroaki Morishima
2 - Noboru Nakayama
1 - Takuya Kokeguchi
1 - Tatsuya Yamashita
1 - Takeshi Hamada

Sanfrecce Hiroshima - Kyoto Sanga 2nd leg Preview

Ueslei picked up a knock for Sanfrecce last match, and Hirashige, who scored Sanfrecce’s goal in the first leg looks set to step in. That’s a huge loss for Sanfrecce, despite that Ueslei is in really bad form and hasn’t scored in his 12 last matches.
Kyoto will switch from a 4-3-3 to a 3-5-2 formation for this match, with Paulinho and Tahara up front. Andrè is also fit, but will start on the bench. Tiago is still injured in the Kyoto defence, but there’s still a small possibility he’ll make it in time.

Sanfrecce’s home form is not good at all, with 0-3-3 on last 6 and only 1 win from their last 10. Kyoto are decent away, as they hardly ever lose. they got 1-4-1 on last 6.
I think we’ll in for yet another tight match, and we’ll probably see a fair share of goals. Hiroshima are small favorites due to home-advantage, but their form and performances lately have been really off, and Kyoto showed in the last meeting that they hold J1 quality.
It’s difficult to predict a winner, as these play-off matches often live their own lives, but we all hope for a Sanga win don't we? ;) ( Although it will be sad with no Kansai derby's next season....)

Kyoto Sanga 2 - Sanfrecce Hiroshima 1



Kyoto Sanga - Sanfrecce Hiroshima 2-1

Kyoto were unlucky not to win by a bigger margin in wednesday’s match, and since they conceded a goal in the dying minutes Hiroshima’s chances now looks a whole lot better.
The game were pretty evenly contested, with plenty of chances to both teams.
Sanfrecce looked best in the opening minutes, and came close on a couple of counter-attacks. But things evened out after a while, and in the 29th minute Kyoto took the lead through a header from Yutaka Tahara. Tahara did great to beat the defenders, after a cross from the right-side had been deflected. Just 10 minutes later, Tahara were on target yet again. This time as well, Tahara scored with his head after a beautiful cross from the right-hand side by Watanabe.
After the break,Sanga continued where they left off in the first half, and could and should have gone both 3 and 4-0 up. Sanga hit both the post and the crossbar, and were unlucky to only lead by 2 goals. In the 75th minute, Sanga’s coach Minobe did a strange move as he took off Sanga’s 2 strikers Paulinho and Tahara. With no real target players left up front, Sanga’s attack became poorer, and Sanfrecce took more and more over. Sanfrecce managed to get an equalizer in the 88th minute, and strenghtened their chances before the home-leg. The youngster Ryuichi Hirashige came on for the unimpressive Ueslei midway through the 2nd half, and Sanfrecce’s reducer were Hirashige’s first ever goal for the club.
Sanfrecce had 13 shots to Kyoto’s 11, but Kyoto deserved to win by a bigger margin.

Rosso Kumamoto and FC Gifu for J2 2008




Congratulations to FC Gifu and Rosso Kumamoto who both earned promotion to J2 next season. Rosso came 2nd and Gifu 3rd in JFL. Sagawa Kyubin SC were not allowed to join J2 despite finishing in 1st.

Kumamoto is based in Kyushu, which means Avispa and Sagan gets another rival. Gifu is located in the middle of Osaka and Tokyo.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Kyoto Sanga - Sanfrecce Hiroshima Preview





The teams latest matches:

Thespa Kusatsu - Kyoto Sanga 1-1
Kyoto had to settle for a draw against Thespa in their last match, but it wouldn’t have mattered if they’d won anyway, as both Consadole and Verdy won their matches.
Kyoto were without both their brazilian strikers, and it became clear early on that they missed them. Things started out nice though, and Tahara put Sanga 1-0 up already after 5 minutes. In the 21th minute, Kyoto were awarded a penalty as well, byt Honda in the Thespa goal saved the shot. Things evened out a bit after that, but still Kyoto looked to be in control. Poor finishing denied Kyoto in gaining a bigger lead although they deserved it, and as often happens then is that the other team equalize. DF Terada came on late in the 2nd half, and in the 90th minute he scored his first and only goal of the season to enormous joy from the home fans. It was by no means deserved, but a nice come-back from Thespa. Kyoto seemed to save some players in the latter half, as they knew Consadole were winning anyway.Kyoto outshot Thespa 12-6.

Sanfrecce Hiroshima - Gamba Osaka 2-2

Sanfrecce’s chances of avoiding the play-off’s were close to 0 before this match, as their goal difference were 11 goals worser than Omiya in 15th, who were 3 points ahead of them. But even with such small chances and alot of key members out, Sanfrecce started the game pretty good, and deservedly took the lead in the 7th minute after Hisato Sato headed home a cross from Yuichi Komano. But Gamba didn’t have to wait long for their equalizer as their topscorer Bare equalized in the 27th minute after being played free by Futagawa. Sanfrecce made a triple substitution 9 minutes into the 2nd half, so it were clear they were already preparing for the play-off. Gamba took more over then, and with 10 minutes left to play Bare and Futagawa were on target again, but this time the roles were mixed as it was Futagawa that finished off a pass from Bare. 2-1 to the visitors, but Sanfrecce somehow managed to bounce back and equalized after the 2 youngster Kashiwagi and Makino combined well to set up Makino’s first ever goal on senior level. Gamba clearly deserved to win this, and they outshot Sanfrecce 21-10. But all in all a decent outing in their last match before they play-offs from Sanfrecce.

PREVIEW:

The teams have met 2 times before, both in 2006, and Sanfrecce won the home match 1-0 while it ended 2-2 in Kyoto.
Kyoto are in decent form, with 2-2-0 on their last 4 matches. On the last 10, they got only loss, and 4-5-1 in total. Hiroshima on the other hand, have gone 10 matches without winning now. They got 3 draws out of the last 5 matches though, so perhaps there is a slight improvement in form lately.
Kyoto will most likely play get Paulinho back for this one, although he might not be 100% fit yet. If he doesn’t start, he’ll surely be on the bench.
Sanfrecce are on paper a much better side than Kyoto, but their form has been horrendous lately, and Kyoto with home advantage can very well win this. Kyoto’s offence has been impressive all season, even when they were forced to rely on the replacements for Paulinho and Andrè. Likewise, Sanfrecce’s defence has been horrible all season, and they even conceded more goals than last-placed Yokohama FC. Despite big names like Toda and Stoyanov, Sanfrecce clearly has a problem at the back. Therefore, Kyoto should be able to notch up a few goals here, especially if Paulinho returns ( which both Yahoo Sports and some other sites reports he will).I think and hope this will be a narrow win for Kyoto, who has to do their best to deny Sanfrecce any goals as away goals are very important.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Cerezo Osaka 2 - Tokyo Verdy 2


So, Cerezo's final match of the season ended a 2-2 draw vs Tokyo Verdy. Verdy had been Cerezo's bogey team this season, with 0-0-3 and 0-8 from the previous 3 meetings. It looked like it should continue in just the same way for this match as well, as Verdy were 2-0 up after only 33 minutes. First in the 16th minute, when Hattori's corner found Diego in the box who headed in the opening goal. In the 33rd minute Iio doubled Verdy's lead, with left-side shot that flew past Yoshida in the Cerezo goal.

Cerezo replied almost immediately though, through a PK from Germano. The game changed pace after the break, and Cerezo took more and more over the match. 15 minutes before the end Cerezo finally got paid for their efforts, as Komatsu made it 2-2. A nice recovery after being 2 goals down so early, but it would have tasted much better with a win in the last match. Alot of the supporters brought newly-made banners with thanks to the players. A nice view! (some of the banners you can see on the pictures below).

Rumours has it this was Tatsuya Furuhashi's last game for Cerezo as he might be on the move to another club.

A nice atmosphere outside the stadium before the match


Match Stats:
Goals:
C: Germano 36' (PK), Rui Komatsu 76' ( Niwa)
V: Diego 16' (Hattori), Kazunori Iio 33'

Cerezo lineup:
GK:Yoshida
DF:Yanagisawa,Maeda,Ezoe,Niwa
MF:Hamada,Haneda,Germano,Kagawa
FW:Komatsu,Furuhashi

Subs: None for Cerezo

Shots:Cerezo 7 / Verdy 9

Cards:
C: Komatsu,Maeda,Germano
V: Funakoshi

Attendance: 13 126