Friday, May 30, 2008

R17- Cerezo Ehime preview

Cerezo Osaka Ehime FC

For Cerezo, Kagawa are still busy with the NT, and also Kakitani are missing here, as he has joined the U-19 NT. Apart from them, they got all players available. No news with Ehime, and they are still missing Aono in midfield and Kawakita in goal.

Cerezo won 5-0 in their last match, and have now 6 wins in a row. They look invincible at the moment, and haven’t lost in 8 matches. At home they also got 6 straight wins and I would be surprised if we didn’t see the 7th here. For Ehime, they won their last match against Kofu, which was quite impressive. But that’s their only win in 5 matches, so overall their form isn’t too good. They got 2-0-4 on the last 6 away. All previous meetings gives us 4-0-1 for Cerezo, and Cerezo won 4-1 away in the first meeting this season. Ehime’s only win came actually in Nagai, as they won 2-0 away ine one of the matches last season.

All factors point towards a Cerezo win here, and even without Kagawa, who is the biggest loss, they got a very impressive lineup. Furuhashi will take place on the wing, which means Careca gets another chance alongside Komatsu up front to impress. There’s ben a rumour Careca might be replaced by another brazilian, so it’s important for him to take his chance now. Cerezo have brought in a new midfielder since their last match too, as Nagoya-player and U-20 member Jun Aoyama has signed a loan-contract with Cerezo. He will probablty be on the bench here, and might turn out to be a solid signing.

Let's hope for another 3-pointer for Cerezo, who can close the gap to Sanfrecce as they have a bye this round.

J2 - round 16 results

Ehime FC Ventforet Kofu 2-1
E: Tanaka 3’, Yokoyama 83’
V: Onishi 63’

Kofu lost their 3rd match in a row this round, and with that they’ve fallen down to 8th place on the table. For Ehime, it was their first win in 5 matches, and finds themselves only 2 points behind Kofu now. Ehime got off to a great start, and took the lead in the 3rd minute through Toshiya Tanaka. The striker scored his 3rd goal this season, following a header from a corner-kick. Ehime continued their pressure, and especially winger Akai had a good match on his right, and created lots of dangerous chances for his team-mates. But Kofu refused to back down, and fought hard to get the equalizer. We had to wait until the 63rd minute though, as Josimar did well to find Onishi who put in the equalizer from close range. The match were very open now, with many chances to both teams, and with a bit more luck Kofu could easily have gotten away with all points. Instead it was Ehime that scored the winner, as the late substitute Takuya Yokoyama pounced in a cross. A closely contested match, with Ehime having 13 shots to Kofu’s 15, and a draw might have been the most fair result.

Sanfrecce took their 7th win in 8 matches as they beat Thespa at home, and their 4th 1-0 win in their last 6 matches. Despite having one of the most impressive offensive lineups in the league, Sanfrecce doesn’t look too lively nowadays, and comparasions to ”boring Arsenal” have already been drawn among some J-fans. But what’s important is winning, and as long as they do that the fans can’t complain. They currently lie in a solid 1st, 4 points ahead of Cerezo in 2nd. Sanfrecce were by far the best team this match though, and had plenty of chances in the opening half. They even had a penalty, bu Honda in the Thespa goal masterfully saved it to keep Thespa in the game. However, just before the break, Sanfrecce were awarded a corner, and Takahagi’s cross found Makino free in the box, and the defender scored his 3rd goal of the season to put the home-team 1-0 up. Sanfrecce defended their lead well, but didn’t create too many chances in teh 2nd half. Thespa had a few opportunities though, but in the end they couldn’t manage to equalize. Sanfrecce had 14 shots to Thespa’s 8.

Tokushima Vortis Sagan Tosu 0-4
S: Fujita 12’, Leandro 16’,25’, Ishida 87’

Sagan impressed alot by beating Tokushima 4-0 away this match, and for once managed to score alot of goals. Their biggest problem this season have been that they haven’t scored enough goals, but with the return of Fujita to the squad they look alot more dangerous now. It was Fuita that opened the scoring, as he gave the visitors the lead after only 12 minutes with a powerful left-footed shot. Just 4 minutes later, Leandro made it 2-0 with a shot from the distance, and the brazilian midfielder added another in the 25th minute. That basically meant that Tokushima were out of the game already, and Sagan could relax. Tokushima made some offensive substututions though at the break, and they came to alot of chances. In fact, Tokushima outshot Sagan 15-11, but failed to find the net. Ishida finished the game with his goal in the 87th minute, and Sagan took their 2nd win in a row.
M: Kitamura 59’,67’, Miyazawa 74’
R: Takahashi 5’

Montedio climbed to 6th following their 3-1 win over Roasso this round, and took their 3rd win in 4 matches. All their goals were scored over a 15-minute period in the 2nd half though, and they went 1-0 down already after 5 minutes. In-form striker Yutaka Takahashi scored again for Roasso, on a header following a nice cross from the right. That was Takahashi’s 10th goal this season, and his 6th in the last 5 matches. May are surprised that it’s Takahashi that was turned out to be Roasso’s leading striker, and one of the topscorers in J2, as the expectations were alot higher to his compatrio Satoshi Nakayama. Montedio made a few changes early in the 2nd half, and they turned out to be vital to the outcome of the match. FW Kitamura came on and scored his 2 first goals this season in the 59th and 67th, and also Miyazaki contributed well. Katsuyuki Miyazawa added another a few minutes after Kitamura’s brace, and secured the win for Montedio. All in all a very deserved win, as Montedio had 20 shots to Roasso’s 8.

Avispa Fukuoka Vegalta Sendai 2-0
A: Tanaka 60’, Okubo 81’

After 5 losses in a row, Avispa impressed with a win over an in-form Vegalta-side, and took 3 valuable points. The win came after a very turbulent week, where coach Littbarski first were reported fired, but then later the board stated Littbarski still were in charge. The reason behind that is that Avispa apparently didn’t have enough money to hire another coach. So in other words, Littbarski are still in charge of the crisis-struck club. The win against Vegalta surely helped on the morale though, and both goals came in the 2nd half. Perhaps the players finally realized the bad situation they found themselves in when their coach were about to be fired, and sort of woke up to play up to their potential.
Tanaka gave Avispa the lead on the hour break, after picking up a loose ball from a corner-kick. Okubo added another in the 81st minute on a counter-attack, which meant Avispa took their first win in 8 matches. Vegalta weren’t bad though, and even missed a PK. Avispa had 12 shots to Vegalta’s 11.
S: Ishihara 17’,64’, Abe 71’, Own goal 78’
Y: Gokyu 88’

After 2 poor performances, Shonan impressed this round with a nice 4-1 win at home vs Yokohama FC. It was in fact their 5th home win in a row, and Yokohama never really stood a chance. Ishihara gave Shonan the lead in the 17th minute with a shot from distance, and Ishihara were also the man behind the 2nd goal, when he scored on a counter. Despite being 2-0 up, Shonan continued with their pressure, and Abe added a 3rd before a Yokohama-defender awarded them a 4th in the 78th minute. Gokyu scored a consolation goal for Yokohama at the end, but they never looked like getting anything from this. Shonan had 19 shots to Yokohama’s 10.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

R16 - Cerezo scores five

Furuhashi is back with 2 goals against Gifu

FC Gifu Cerezo Osaka 0-5
C: Germano 31’,80’, Careca 55’, Furuhashi 72’,77’

Cerezo impressed this round by beating Gifu 5-0 away, meaning the guys from Osaka now have 6 wins in a row. But the result doesn’t give the 100% correct picture of the match, as Gifu infact played a decent match, and Cerezo were quite lucky to be rewarded with so many goals. The referee didn’t have the best of days, and took some dodgy calls that all went into Cerezo’s favour. For example, Germano’s 2 goals both came on PK’s, and a Gifu player were wrongly sent off at the end of the match. Cerezo deserved the win though, but not by such a big margin. With 5 goals here, Cerezo now are the highest scoring team in J2 alongside Sanfrecce, which is impressive considering they’ve had some injury and form problems in attack. The first half were pretty even, and Gifu came out of the blocks looking the strongest, and had a big chance by Katagiri in the opening minutes. But after 31 minutes, Germano scored from a penalty-kick, and that was the only goal that separated them by half-time.

After the break though, Cerezo took more over and Careca did 2-0 just 10 minutes into the half following a header from corner. Tatsuya Furuhashi, who recently returned from his injury, made it 3-0 in the 72nd minute after a counter-attack, and the ace-striker added another just 5 minutes later before Germano scored in his 2nd PK to make it 5-0. Cerezo had 17 shots to Gifu’s 10, and were deserved winners.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

R16 - Gifu - Cerezo Preview

FC Gifu Cerezo Osaka

Gifu had a bye last round, so they should be well-rested ahead of this match. On the injury-front, 3 regulars are still out, and it’s worst in midfield where Kitamura and Shimada are still injured. For Cerezo, there’s no injuries at the moment, but Shinji Kagawa were called up to the NT squad for the Kirin Cup, and is missing here. Kagawa have been extremely important this season, but Tatsuya Furuhashi is stepping in for him, which makes an impressive trio of Furuhashi,Kakitani and in-form Komatsu up front.

Gifu’s form is so-so, with only 1 win in their last 4. They’ve been pretty varying this year though, and never gone on big losing or winning streaks. At home this season they only got 1-1-4, and they’ve taken the majority of their points away. For Cerezo, they have really hit top-form now, with 5 straight wins which have taken them to 2nd place in the table. Cerezo are much better at home than away, and on the last 6 away they got 2-1-3 (2-1-0 on the last 3 though). The teams met earlier in the season as well, with Cerezo winning 1-0 at home. That was a pretty closely fought match, and Gifu impressed with some nice play back then. However, now Gifu is playing at home, which seems to have a bad effect on their players.

The fact that Gifu has an extra week’s rest is an advantage to them, but apart from that all factors goes into a Cerezo win. Cerezo got a superior form, can field their best squad except for Kagawa, and are in general a better side. Gifu usually plays bad against the better teams as well, and all of their wins came against lower placed teams.Most likely a Cerezo win!

R15 - J2 results

S: Hara 39’

Shonan disappointed with only a draw away at Ehime, which made them fall 3 points behind Cerezo in 2nd. Ehime actually put up a very good fight, and with bit more luck they could have ended up as winners. Ehime took the lead through Ego as early as the 11th minute, and their lead almost lasted until half-time, only to see Hara equalized in the 39th minute after Ehime’s goalkeeper Tada were forced to give a rebound from a Sakemoto-finish.
Ehime hadn’t scored for 3 games before this match, and Ego’s opening goal were therefore much needed. Both teams had chances to win in the 2nd half, and a draw seems a fair result in the end. Both Ehime and Shonan had 11 shots on goal.

Montedio Yamagata Tokushima Vortis 2-0
M: Rychelly 26’, Akiba 41’

Montedio took their 6th win of the season when they beat Tokushima 2-0 at home this round. Montedio were by far the best team before the break, and also scored both their goals in the first half. Brazilian Rychelly, who’s on loan from FC Tokyo, scored the first, as he met a corner-kick from Akiba with his head to make it 1-0 in the 26th minute. An important goal, which opened the match up as it means Tokushima had to go forward if they wanted a goal. Akiba were in fous once again just before the break, but this time he was the finished and not the provider, as he finished off a nice attack to make it 2-0.
Tokushima’s hopes of a point looked slim now, but they put up a good fight in the 2nd half, where they were the dominant team. But not even by putting on an extra FW did they manage to find the net, and although both teams had 13 shots on goal, it was the home team that got away with all points.

Despite outplaying Yokohama in all ways, it took a late and dramatic goal for Sanfrecce to beat them, and it was the youngster Hirashige who became the hero of the match with his 85th minute goal. Hirashige, who came on as a sub in the 71th minute, took a nice turn which tricked the opposing defender and neatly made it 1-0. Sanfrecce were dominant from beginning to end, and both Sato, Takahaji and the Morisaki-brothers had chances to score,but neither of them managed to find the net. Yokohama’s veteran goalkeeper Koyama had a good day at work, and stood like a wall to keep Sanfrecce from scoring. In the end he were beaten though, and Hirashige could score his 3rd goal of the season.
Sanfrecce had 20 shots to Yokohama’s 4, and this match showed how big difference it is between the teams.

Thespa Kusatsu Mito Hollyhock 2-1
T: Matsushita 28’,89’
M: Own Goal 40’

The clash between the 2 minnows Thespa and Mito saw the home team take all 3 points after a last minute goal by Matsushita.With that, Thespa now have 3 wins in their last 4, and 2 wins in a row, which both are extremely rare for the club.In fact, they’ve never won 2 matches in a row before in J.League. Considering they’ve only lost one of their last 8 in the league as well ( against an in-form Cerezo that was), it might mean they’ve finally showed consistency. Currently lying joint 8th, they can be very happy with their start to the season, and along with Gifu they are the positive surprise so far.
For the match, Yuki Matsushita scored both of Thespa’s goals actually, which also were the midfielder’s first goals this season. His first were a real cracker, as he found the net with a well-taken shot from distance in the 28th minute. However, Mito equalized just before the break after a Thespa-defender got unlucky and scored an own-goal. But Matsushita’s goal in injury-time meant Thespa could celebrate as winners. Both teams had 7 shots on goal, which suggest it was a slow game and not the most entertaining one for neutral fans. Reports says Thespa deserved the win though.

Roasso Kumamoto Vegalta Sendai 2-2
R: Takahashi 33’, 59’
V: Sugai 44’, Nakahara 61’

Roasso’s Yosuke Takahashi gave Roasso the lead on 2 occasions this match, but Vegalta equalized both times within minutes. The match ended 2-2, which is a result Vegalta can’t be happy with as their fighting for a top 3 position. Vegalta were also by far the best team this match, but thanks to Takahashi’s effectiveness, they only got a point. Takahashi’s first goal came after Ichimura’s cross found Nakayama, who headed down for Takahashi to take his shot in the 33rd minute. But just before half-time, Sugai equalized after Vegalta combined well with precise passing to set up the midfielder. The match were evenly contested the first half, but in the 2nd Vegalta took more and more over, and had the majorty of the chances. It was Roasso that scored first again though,and once again it was Takahashi after a set-piece. Vegalta replied immediately though, and Nakahara made 2-2 in the 61st minute.
Despite having 16 shots to Roasso’s 8, Vegalta didn’t manage to score any more goals, and have to be disappointed with just a draw here.
S: Fujita 18’,29’

2 goals from Yoshihito Fujita meant Sagan took a very important and impressive 2-1 win away against Kofu this round. However, the home team have to feel disappointed, as they clearly deserved more from this match, as they put Sagan under a massive pressure after going 0-2 down early in the match. Fujita were set up by Kim on both his goals, and the duo up front seems to have found the rhythm and are starting to work well together. With a goalgetter like Fujita in the side, Sagan looks a dangerous squad now.
Kofu’s goal came right after the break, through rookie Kuno who scored only his 2nd ever goal for the club. Kofu had 21 shots to Sagan’s 10, but the wasting of chances in one end, and the effective play in the other shows the difference between these teams, which is having strikers capable of scoring goals on a regualr basis. Unless Kofu acquires one of those during the summer transfer market I doubt they will have any chance of promotion this season.

Friday, May 23, 2008

R15 - Cerezo with 5 straight wins

Cerezo Osaka Avispa Fukuoka 2-1
C: Germano 14’, Own Goal 76’
A: Nagira 19’

Yet another win for Cerezo, and yet another loss for Avispa. For Avispa, that means they will have to find themselves a new coach now, as Pierre Littbarski were given until this match to turn it around, and as he didn’t manage it he were given the axe yesterday. That’s fully justified, as it’s a disgrace to see such a talented bunch of players that Avispa helds play so poor football. surely Littbarski weren’t the right man to steer them.

For the match, Cerezo deserved the win, as they had the most of the chances and also controlled the ball for most of the time. They took the lead on a penalty kick through Germano, who scored his 7th goal of the season and in his 3rd match in a row. Shinji Kagawa were fouled after being on one of his dribbling raids in the situation that led to the PK in the 14th minute. However, it didn’t take long for Avispa to reply though, and only 5 minutes later DF Tomokazu Nagira did 1-1 after Avispa showed great passing and team-work to set up the goal. That was Nagira’s first ever goal in the J.League.

For the 2nd half, Cerezo subbed in Furuhashi, who were predicted to start, and for the entire 2nd half Cerezo played with 3 FW’s. Furuhashi became vital in Cerezo’s winning goal, as it was his free-kick that were deflected by an Avispa defender in the 76th minute. That was the last goal of the match, and in the end Cerezo had 15 shots to Avispa’s 10. This was Cerezo’s 5th win in a row, which takes them 2nd. For Avispa, it was the 5th loss in a row, and they are only 1 point clear of the last place.

Monday, May 19, 2008

R15 - Ahead of Cerezo - Avispa

Cerezo Osaka Avispa Fukuoka

For Cerezo, there’s no injuries at the moment although FW Shiratani have been omitted from the last 2 matches for unknown reasons. Shiratani have started a handful of matches this season and done a good job, but Cerezo got great cover up front so it’s not the biggest loss. Likewise Avispa doesn’t have any important players out either. But they got 2 players sent off the last match, and the australian duo Griffiths and Rudan will have to sit this match out. Rudan surprisingly played the match against Yokohama, despite being predicted to be out for a couple of weeks more. His return wasn’t too long, and so far he’s not been the signing Avispa hoped for with just 4 appearances in total. The australians Rudan,Talay and Griffiths are very good players, but they are physically strong and fairly well-built, and might not be suited for the fast and technical japanese football. None of them have really impressed so far, although Talay had some good matches in the opening of the season. Griffiths, who’s a NT-player, have been weak and not shown anything of the stuff that made him the A.League’s player of the season in 2007. But on the more positive note, Avispa gets back MF Hisanaga, who’s a very skillful player and has been missed in the Avispa squad.
Cerezo’s form is quite good, with 4 straight wins and 5-1-0 on the last 6. That puts then in joint 2nd place. At home they got an equally as impressive 5-0-1. Avispa on the other hand, are really struggling, with 4 straight defeats and not a win in the last 6 matches. Away they got an awful 0-2-4 record, which means they are yet to take a win away this season.
All previous meetings gives us 3-2-1, and last season it was 3-1-0 for Cerezo, so no doubt that Cerezo are favorites ahead of this match.
I think it will be an interesting match, and wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a big home win, which was the case in november last year, when Cerezo won 4-0. Avispa doesn’t seem to find out what kind of football they’re gonna play, or what players to use, and have been changing strategies several times this season. That, along with 2 players out makes an away win seems very unlikely. Cerezo are on a roll, and with key offensive players in topform like Komatsu ( scored in 5 matches in a row), Kagawa and Germano I doubt the rusty Avispa defence will withstand it.To add to that, Cerezo’s topscorer last season Furuhashi is fit again as well, and it’s likely he will play alongside Komatsu here at the expense of Kakitani. But Avispa aren’t by no means a bad side, and if their players finally started to perform they could upset Cerezo here. I doubt that will happen though, and we'll see a pink win!

Shinji Kagawa in the NT-squad!

So finally Okada and co. have seen what we Cerezo fans have seen for a long while, that our star player Shinji Kagawa is NT-material! It's quite surprising to see him included in the squad though, considering he only plays J2 and is barely 19 years old. But surely he got potential, and is perhaps the most promising prospect in all of Japan now. Kashiwagi,Morimoto,Kakitani are all great, but neither of them have taken the step up that Kagawa now have done.
For those who doesn't know so much about Kagawa, he's a speedy little winger/midfielder that got amazing dribbling skills, and are a very solid passer with great overview. He's played 48 matches for Cerezo already, and scored 8 goals in his career. He has been perhaps the best player in J2 this season, and is the main contributor to Cerezo's offensive play.
Congratulations to Shinji, and let's hope we'll see him in one or more of the WC Qualifying games.

J2 - round 14 reports

Cerezo Osaka Shonan Bellmare 2-0
C: Germano 11’, Komatsu 89’

Cerezo took their 4th win in a row when they beat Shonan 2-0 at home. A strong result, considering Shonan’s form were just as good as Cerezo’s. The match itself were evenly contested, but Cerezo looked the strongest team in the end and took a well-deserved win, despite being outshot 9-11 by Shonan. Shonan’s chances weren’t that big though, and Cerezo’s goal never looked threatened. Germano scored his 6th goal of the season when he gave the home-team an early lead after only 11 minutes. The impressive MF took a left-legged shot that flew over the Shonan-keeper and back into the net. A beautiful goal, which was one of few interesting moments in the first half. It was a fierce battle, and both teams received 4 yellow cards. But it was by no means nasty play, and the referee did a good job calming it down when needed. As time were running out for Shonan, and they still didn’t had managed to equalize, Rui Komatsu anticipated a very risky back-pass from a Shonan defender and calmly did 2-0 alone with the goalkeeper in the 89th minute to win the game for Cerezo. Komatsu and Germano both have 6 goals now, and have been very important this season for Cerezo’s sake. The win takes Cerezo 1 point ahead of Shonan, and the teams currently lies in 3rd and 4th.

Sagan Tosu Sanfrecce Hiroshima 0-1
H: Sato 75’

The match between Sagan and Sanfrecce ended with a 1-0 win for the visitors, but according to chances it should have been scored more goals. Both teams created alot of chances, especially in the first half. Sanfrecce looked the most dangerous squad though, and had plenty of shots that went begging. Sagan were put under pressure by Sanfrecce, but did well on counter-attacks, and should have scored atleast 1 goal before the break. It slowed down a bit after the break, but the situation were the same, with Sanfrecce controlling the play and Sagan chasing on counter-attacks etc. Hisato Sato scored the only goal of the match 15 minutes from full time when Hattori found him with a pass. The speedy FW did well to make it 1-0, and it proved to be the winning goal. Sanfrecce had 15 shots to Sagan’s 11, and deserved the win. That means Sanfrecce are still in 1st, 4 points ahead of Vegalta and Cerezo.

Mito Hollyhock Ehime FC 1-0
M: Hiramatsu 76’

After 9 matches without a win, Mito finally managed to take 3 points again when they met Ehime at home. That means Mito closed the gap to the other bottom-placed teams, and are only 2 points clear of Avispa in 12th. It was a even match, and it could easily have ended with an away win too. Ehime had a shot saved on the line by a Mito defender in the first half, and if that had gone in Ehime would probably have ended up as winners. Mito’s winning goal came after 76 minutes, when Hiramatsu met a corner-kick from Takumi Akahoshi with his head and coolly placed it out of reach for the Ehime goalkeeper. After the goal, Mito focused on the defensive work, and did a good job denying Ehime any big goalscoring opportunities. All in all a fair result, and Mito can be happy with an important win. Mito had 12 shots to Ehime’s 11.

Yokohama FC Avispa Fukuoka 2-1
Y: Anderson 16’, Ikemoto 55’
A: Okubo 53’

Another defeat for Avispa, who lost their 4th match in a row. But they deserved more here, and hadn’t it been for Yokohama being very effective this match they would have won it. Yokohama had only 4 shots on goal to Avispa’s 9, and all in all it was not the most entertaining match. Avispa started off best, but Anderson gave the home team the lead on a counter-attack in the 16th minute. That was the only goal in the first half, as very few chances came after the opening goal. It was more entertaining after the break though, and Okubo equalied in the 53rd minute with a well-taken free-kick that shook the net. but just 2 minutes later, Ikemoto scored on another Yokohama-counter, and made it 2-1. To make matters worse for Avispa, first Mark Rudan received marching order after 2 yellow cards. Rudan surprisingly made it to this match, despite being predicted to be out for 2 more weeks. His presence was important, and Avispa did a good job in defence denying Yokohama any goals. Only 4 chances in total underlines that. And another australian were to follow Rudan afterwards, as Joel Griffiths also were sent off after 2 yellow cards a minute from full-time. Griffiths were recently picked for Australia’s NT-squad, but had a poor match this time. A somewhat lucky win for Yokohama.

Tokushima Vortis Roasso Kumamoto 2-0
T: Oshima 37’, Doumbia 42’

After 4 losses in a row, Tokushima finally came back on winning track as they beat a visiting Roasso side 2-0. It was a well-deserved win, but Roasso weren’t all lost, and could have gotten a point if they had been more effective. Both of Tokushima’s goals came just before the break, The big difference between the teams were undoubtly frenchman Seydou Doumbia, who proved to be handful for the Roasso defence. Doumbia did a brilliant match defensively as well, and were the man behind both of Tokushima’s goal. First, he found Oshima with a beautiful cross, and the japanese striker finished it off with a delicate strike. Then, just 5 minutes later, Doumbia used his superior speed to outrun 2 Roasso defenders on a counter, and had few problems making it 2-0 1 on 1 with the goalkeeper. An important win for Tokushima, and it was good to see Doumbia back in form after some disappointing displays.

FC Gifu Thespa Kusatsu 0-1
T: Takada 75’

Thespa continued their good form with a 1-0 away win at Gifu. With that, Thesps have 2-4-1 on the last 7, which is a good feat for such a small club. It was an evenly contested affair, and Thespa had the first big chance when a header from Matsushita struck the bar.The match were intense, and overall there were few goalscoring opportunities. Gifu had only 9 shots on goal to Thespa’s 7, and most of the play took place in midfield. Gifu had a golden opportunity to take the lead when they received a PK some minutes into the 2nd half. But Katagiri blew his shot, and Honda in the Thespa goal came up with a fine save. 15 minutes before the end came the decisive goal, when Takada headed home a cross to make it 1-0 for Thespa. All in all a fair result, but Gifu-fans might feel they atleast deserved a draw.

Vegalta Sendai Montedio Yamagata 3-2
V: Hirase 51’, Ryan Yong Gi 80’, Sato 84’
M: Akiba 18’, Hasegawa 39’

The match between Vegalta and Montedio was a very entertaining affair, and both teams ”owned” each their half. Montedio looked by far the best in the first half, and took an early lead through Akiba. In-form striker Hasegawa made it 2-0 just before the break on a counter, and Vegalta had a difficult task getting back into the game.But their coach must have said the right words in the break, as the home-team came out in the 2nd half looking much sharper and more focused than in the first. Veteran-striker did 1-2 in the 51st minute, and suddenly Vegalta were back in the game. Just minutes after Hirase’s goal, Montedio’s Miyamoto received marching order. Miyamoto, who’s on loan from Cerezo picked up 2 yellow cards with 4 minutes and suddenly Vegalta were a man up and the prospects of a comeback looked good. We had to wait a long time for the equalizer though, and it was North-korean Ryan Yong Gi that scored it with a stunning volley that Montedio’s keeper had no chance of saving. And just 4 minutes later, Sato headed home the winning goal, which meant Vegalta took their 4th win in a row. Vegalta had 11 shots to Montedio’s 9, and if Miyamoto hadn’t been sent off, perhaps the visitors would have taken the points.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

J2 - round 13 Results

More reasons to cheer for for Cerezo's fans

Thespa Kusatsu Cerezo Osaka 1-3
T: Yamazaki 90’
C: Komatsu 5’,80’, Germano 83’

Cerezo continued their good form with a comfortable 3-1 win against Thespa away. Cerezo always looked the best team, and took the lead after only 5 minutes through in-form striker Rui Komatsu. Komatsu used his individual skills to break free to score a beauitiful goal that put Cerezo 1-0 up. Cerezo maintained their 1-0 lead for the rest of the half, and prevented the home team from coming to any big chances. It opened up a bit more in the 2nd half though, but Cerezo always looked the most dangerous side. The next goal didn’t come before in the 80th minute, once again through Komatsu who met a cross with his head from Germano to make it 2-0. Germano got the honour of scoring the 3rd himself, before Yamazaki scored a consolation goal for Thespa in injury-time. Cerezo had 17 shots to Thespa’s 11, and took a very deserved win.

Roasso Kumamoto FC Gifu 0-2
G: Umeda 56’, Katagiri 64’

Gifu took a well-deserved 0-2 win against Roasso away this round, which mean they had a clean sheet for the first time this season. Gifu looked best most of the match, but when Roasso got MF Yamaguchi sent off just before the break, Gifu took more and more over and controlled the 2nd half. Umeda gave them the lead 11 minutes into the 2nd half with a powerful shot, and just minutes later FW Katagiri made 2-0 after some sloppy defending from Roasso. The home-team never looked like getting back into the match, and Gifu could just fall back and defend their lead for the rest of the match. Roasso had only 5 shots to Gifu’s 12, and it was a deserved away win.

Shonan Bellmare Sagan Tosu 2-1
B: Adiel 49’, Abe 51’
T: Kim 89’

The clash between 2 of the top placed teams ended with a 2-1 home win for Shonan, which took them to 2nd place in the league.It was an eventful match with many chances for both teams, but in the end Shonan were deserved winners. Shonan opened the match very good, and had 2 shots that struck the bar in the opening minutes. All goals came after the break though, and Adiel gave the home team the lead in the 49th minute with a nice header following a corner-kick. Just 2 minutes later, Abe doubled the lead and Shonan looked to be in control of the match. Sagan did have some chances too though, but had to wait until the 89th minute for their goal, which came through korean FW Kim. A well-deserved win for Shonan, who had 17 shots to Sagan’s 12. With this results, Shonan now have 3 wins in a row, but meets another top-team in Cerezo next round.

Yokohama FC Ehime FC 1-0
Y: Anderson 58’

A sole goal from J2 topscorer Anderson won all points for Yokohama this match. But actually it was somewhat a lucky win, as Ehime were atleast on par with Yokohama this match. They might have deserved the win as well, as they had the biggest chances. Korean Kim Tae-Yon had maybe the biggest, but his shot in the first half hit the post. Instead it wa Yokohama that took the lead, after almost an hour of play, which came after a horrid back-pass from a Ehime defender. Anderson saw it coming, and were suddenly left alone with the Ehime keeper. The brazilian made no mistake and calmly made 1-0. Ehime tried hard to get back into the match, and had a few big chances in the end as well. The big FW’s Wakabayashi and Miki caused problems for Yokohama, but they squandered too many chances in the end. Yokohama had 9 shots on goal to Ehime’s 12, and were lucky to end up as winners here.

Vegalta Sendai Ventforet Kofu 2-0
V: Okayama 56’, Nakayama 85’

In another big match this round, Vegalta won 2-0 at home vs Kofu which took Vegalta to 3rd in the table. The match were quite even though, and only superior finishing from Vegalta sealed the win for them. Kofu came out with 3 FW’s this match, which took the home-team by surprise at first. But despite coming to several chances, Kofu didn’t manage to score. The away-team looked slightly better in the first half, but that were to be changed after the break. The first goal came after 56 minutes, when Okayama met a cross from the right to make it 1-0 for the home team. As the match wore on, Vegalta came to more chances, and did a good keeping Kofu at bay. With 5 minutes remaining, Vegalta scored the 2nd of the day following a free-kick from Nakayama. Vegalta had 12 shots to Kofu’s 16, and perhaps a draw would have been the most fair result.

Avispa Fukuoka Sanfrecce Hiroshima 0-3
S: Morisaki 30’,82’, Moriwaki 73’

Avispa’s horrible start to the season continued when they were humiliated once again at home, losing 0-3 against Sanfrecce. Earlier this season, Avispa have lost 1-5 to Gifu and 2-4 to Roasso at home, and seems to have a problem playing in front of their own fans. The match weren’t as one-sided as the results suggests though, but no doubt that Sanfrecce deserved the win. Avispa tried a defensive 3-5-2 formation this match, but it didn’t work at all, and coach Littbarski seems to begin to becoming desperate now, and a new coach in Fukuoka seems imminent in the near future. Morisaki gave Sanfrecce the lead after 30 minutes after a nice shot, and that was the only goal of the half. Avispa came up with some chances themselves, but never looked like threatening the Hiroshima goal. Sanfrecce scored 2 late goals to go up 3-0, and not even the introduction of a few extra FW’s helped Avispa’s cause. They lost deservedly , and had 9 shots to Sanfrecce’s 13.

Montedio Yamagata Mito Hollyhock 3-1
Y: Nemoto 19’, Leonardo 47’, Miyazaki 85’
H: Kikuoka 34’

Montedio impressed with a nice 3-1 win at home vs struggling Mito this round, which took them to 7th place in the league,ahead of big-names like Avispa and Kofu. Montedio looked the better side from early on, and Nemoto gave them an early lead in the 18th minute with a nice header following an Ishikawa-cross. But Takuro Kikuoka equalized with a free-kick in the 34th minute, which was the young midfielder’s first ever J.League goal. So the teams were deadlocked by half-time, which seemed a fair result. But things got a bit different after the break, as Montedio took more and more over.Leonardo made 2-1 in the 47th minute after a set-play, and Montedio defended well for the remaining of the match. They killed the game off with a 3rd goal through Miyazaki 5 minutes from the end, and with 13 shots to Mito’s 10, it was a well-deserved win. Mito have now gone 9 matches without a win, and struggles at the bottom of the table.

R12 - J1 Results

Gamba Osaka Yokohama F Marinos 2-2
G: Yamaguchi 17’, Lucas 80’
Y: Roni 65’,83’

Gamba and Marinos shared the spoils in a entertaining and close encounter this round. Gamba secured their place in the ACL-knockout stage midweek, and Marinos had an advantage in more rested players. Marinos also started the game best, and had several chances over the opening minutes. But it was Gamba that took the lead, when Yamaguchi reacted first on a rebound from a Bare shot. That was the only goal in the first half, but bot teams could have scored more. After the goal, Gamba was taking more and more over, and should have doubled their lead. 20 minutes into the 2nd half Marins finally equalized, when Roni and Yamase combined well before Roni scored with a owerful shot to make it 1-1. Roni looked to be on fire this evening, and should have made it 1-2 minutes later. Instead, Gamba and Lucas scored on a counter-attack with only 10 minutes remaining, and most people though Gamba would win it now. But once again Marinos bounced back, and once again it was Roni that scored with a nice header following a cross from Hayuma Tanaka.
Gamba had 15 shots to Marinos 8, but overall a draw seemed fair.

Shimizu tok their first win over Kashima since 2003, following an early goal from midfielder Takuya Honda. A very important win, and the match were even from beginning to end with both teams having several big chances. But Shimizu was the only team to score, when Honda got away from his marker and unleashed a powerful shot from just outside the box to make it 1-0 after 25 minutes. Kashima tried their best to bounce back, but either their shots went begging or Nishibe in the Shimizu goal saved them. For Kashima, it was clear that the participation on the ACL were wearing on the players stamina, and without their topscorer as well they didn’t look too sharp in attack, especially in the 2nd half. Shimizu had 12 shots to Kashimas 10.

Albirex Niigata Jubilo Iwata 1-0
A: Alessandro 17’

Niigata took an impressive 1-0 win over Jubilo this round, and they deserved the win too. Niigata looked the best team already from the beginning of, and took the lead through Alessandro in the 17th minute following a shot from Kisho Yano. After the goal, Albirex defended themselves well, and the visitors didn’t come up with anything dangerous before the break. For Jubilo, it got even worse midway through the 2nd half, when Kaga received marching order after picking up 2 yellow cards. That made a come-back from them difficult, and Albirex looked the most likely team to score at the end. Albirex had 13 shots to Jubilo’s 9, and played one of their best matches so far this season.

Nagoya dropped 2 points further behind Urawa after only 0-0 against Vissel at home, but they still lie in 2nd place. It was the visitors that started the game best, and had several chances in the opening minutes, which all were saved by Narazaki in the Nagoya goal. Keita Sugimoto had the biggest chance for Nagoya on a counter-attack, but his finish lacked precision. Most of the action took place in the first half, and neither of the teams looked to have what it took to win it. For Kobe it was worrying that Yoshito Okubo picked up a knock in the dying minutes, and it’s unclear for how long he will be out. Both teams had 10 shots on goal.

For the 2nd match in a row, Tokyo lost 0-1 at home which means they’ve slipped down to 4th, 6 points behind frontrunners Urawa. For Reysol it was their 3rd win in a row, and they are only 1 point clear of Tokyo in 5th. The match were quite even, but Tokyo had the biggest and most of the chances. Tokyo had the most of the possession as well, where as Reysol went for quick counters. The winning goal came on a corner kick though, in the 74th minute through Otani. Tokyo did their best to bounce back, but even not the introduction of tall FW Hirayama helped their case. The home deserved atleast a point though, as they outshot Reysol 16-10.

JEF took their first win of the season when they beat struggling Kyoto 1-0 at home. A much-needed and very important 3-pointer for JEF, who were without a manager for this match. Alex Miller is the man to take over though, and the scotsman comes from being a first-team coach of Liverpool FC. JEF deserved the win as well, as they controlled most of the match. The first half ended scoreless though, with the play alternating from at both ends. But in the 2nd half, JEF took more over, and the only goal of the match came in the 68th minute, following a shot from Reinaldo that struck the bar, before Kohei Kudo reacted quickest to poke in the rebound. For Kyoto it was a disappointing match, and they’ve now lost 4 of the last 5 games, which have placed them in the relegation zone. JEF jad 12 shots to Kyoto’s 5, and deserved all 3 points.
C: Own goal 18’, Davi 85’

After 4 straight losses, Consadole took a much-needed win this match away against Omiya. It was fully deserved as well as the visitors were by far the best team. After some very promising and impressive performances this season, it was surprising to see such a lacklustre match from the home-side, especially considering they met a team currently in the relegation zone. Consadole took the lead after 18 minutes, when a corner-kick hit a Omiya defender and bounced into the net. That was pretty much the only thing of interest that happened before the half as neither of the teams came to much chances. Omiya equalized on one of their few real attacks midway in the 2nd half through Morita, who used his strength to make room inside the box. But Consadole fought back, and Davi scored the winning goal 5 minutes from time. Omiya had 10 shots on goal to Consadole’s 6, but the away team always looked most likely to win despite being outshot.

Urawa took a somewhat lucky win against Kawasaki this round, after Edmilson scored the only goal of the match in the 63rd minute. The visitors looked poor for much of the game, and came to surprisingly few chances. In that case, Kawasaki were better, and should have scored on a couple of occasions.The first half didn’t produce much chances, and Kawasaki looked slightly the better team, but 0-0 seemed fair by half-time. The only goal of the game came midway through the 2nd half, when Takahara were fouled inside the box. Edmilson converted the PK with ease to make Uraw go 1-0 up. Kawasaki pushed hard for an equalizer after that, and even scored through Taniguchi, only to see the referee wrongly making a call for off-side As the match wore on, Kawasaki kept pushing, but neither of their chances found the net, and in the end Urawa could win it. Urawa had only 3 shots on goal, while Kawasaki had 12, and this should have been a home win.

Oita Trinita Tokyo Verdy 2-0
O: Edmilson 48’, Own Goal 67’

Oita took their 2nd win in a row when they beat Verdy 2-0 at home this round. It was a fully deserved win., and Oita looked the better team from beginning to end. The first half ended a stalemate though, but Oita had the biggest chances. Oita had the advantage of having a few extra days rest, which became apparent in the 2nd half, when the Verdy players showed signs of fatigue. It took only 3 minutes after the break for Oita to take the lead, when Edmilson scored with a nice right-legged shot. A Verdy defender scored an own-goal as well midway through the half, which pretty much ended Verdy’s hopes for a point. Oita had 15 shots to Verdy’s 5, and looks a very strong squad at the moment.

Friday, May 9, 2008

R12 - J2 results

FC Gifu Sagan Tosu 0-1
S: Fujita 81’
Sagan took their 2nd win in a row and climbed to 3rd with that with their 1-0 win over Fc Gifu away. Gifu however, put up a good fight and only a late goal from Fujita were the difference between the teams in the end. So Gifu lost their 3rd match in a row, and fell to 10th in the table. Sagan’s goal came after Hidaka were fouled inside the penalty box, and Fujita smoothly placed the penalty-kick beyond reach of the Gifu keeper. Sagan were overall the best team, and also most of the chances, but to concede such a late goal for Gifu is still heartbreaking.

Vegalta took a very strong and very important away against Sanfrecce this round, as Nakahara’s last-minute goal proved to be the winner. But according to play it was perhaps a bit of a lucky win, and Sanfrecce had 17 shots to Vegalta’s 8. Sanfrecce were especially good in the opening 20 minutes, and Hattori hit the post with a thundering strike which was the closest they got a goal. Vegalta defended for most of the first half, but looked a bit more aggressive after the break. The goal came in the 89th minute, when Nakahara headed home a cross from the right. A great result for Vegalta, who climbed to 4th with these 3 points.

Tokushima Vortis Thespa Kusatsu 2-3
V: Ishida 19’, Oshima 65’
K: Goto 13’, Tanaka 86’, Takada 87’

A late turn-around from Thespa denied Tokushima any points here, as they fell to a 2-3 defeat at home. The quality of finishing where the difference here, as both teams had many shots on goal. Goto gave the visitors an early lead on a counter-attack, but Tokushima responded just 6 minutes later through Ishida, after Silva and Muguruma set up the goal for him. As the match wore on, and the players got more tired, the match opened up a bit, and Oshima could make 2-1 for the home team with a header from a corner kick in the 65th minute. For long, that looked to be the winning goal, but 2 quick goals within the last 5 minutes turned the match around, and Thespa played their 5th game in a row without defeat.

Ventforet Kofu Yokohama FC 2-1
V: Kuno 14’, Fujita 33’
Y: Anderson 73’

Kofu and Yokohama battled it out this round, and it was the home team that ended up as winners after going 2-0 up early in the match. Kuno gave them the lead after only 14 minutes after a precisely swung corner, and Fujita made it 2-0 after some nice team-play in the 33th minute. Kofu closed down Yokohama’s attack effectively, and the visitors didn’t create much in the first half. Anderson reduced to 1-2 with a nice individual effort 17 minutes from full-time, but it was too little too late, and Kofu deserved the win in the end. Kofu had 14 shots to Yokohama’s 10.
Ehime FC Montedio Yamagata 0-0

The match between Ehime and Montedio ended 0-0, a result Montedio have to be most unhappy with. The visitors were by far the best team, and had the biggest chances. A shot that struck the bar as well as failing to score 1 on 1 with the goalkeeper was just some of the missed chances Montedio had this match. Ehime had only one big chance, which came late in the match, but Yokoyama squandered his shot and the match ended a draw. Montedio, who now lies in 8th, had 13 shots to Ehime’s 8.

Mito Hollyhock Shonan Bellmare 0-2
S: Abe 63’, Sakamoto 88’

Mito lost their 3rd match in a row when they met Shonan this round, but they looked better than for a long time, and came up with some nice football. It always looked like Shonan would take the win though, but they left it late, and didn’t score their first goal beore in the 63rd minute when Abe scored with his right foot after a nice pass from Usui. Sakamoto killed the game with his 88th minute goal. Before that, Mito’s Owada receivd marching order, which limited Mito’s chances of a comeback. Honma in the Mito goal had a very good day, and kept Mito in the game for a long time with many top-notch saves. Mito had 11 shots to Shonan’s 16.

Avispa Fukuoka Roasso Kumamoto 2-4
A: Okubo 8’, Griffiths 41’
R: Takahashi 28’,33’72’, Komorida 57’

A hat-trick from Roasso’s Yutaka Takahashi meant Avispa went on their 5th loss this season, and currently lags behind in 10th place. For Roasso, it was the best game they’ve playd by far this season, being solid in defence and very efficienty up front. Takahashi scored 3 goals on 4 finishes, and totaly, Roasso had only 7 shots on goal and 4 goals.
Avispa got off to the best start though, when Okubo scored with a header after only 8 minutes. But 2 neatly taken free-kicks from Takahashi in the 28th and 33rd minute meant the visitors now where in front. Griffiths equalized just before the break though, which left most thinking Avispa would run away with it now. But that didn’t happen, and Komorida put Roasso in the lead again in the 57th minute, before Takahashi completed his hat-trick. A great win for Roasso in tthis Kyushu-derby match, but Avispa outshot them 16-7, and should have gotten more from it.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

R11 - J1 Results

The mighty Saitama Stadium, where Urawa won 3-0 against JEF ( picture taken by Sh@tei)

Urawa Red Diamonds JEF Utd Ichihara 3-0
U: Tulio 59’, Soma 76’, Edmilson 85’

JEF’s 0-3 loss at the hands of Urawa lead to Josip Kuze being fired, since the team hasn’t won a single match this season. JEF’s poor performance isn’t necessarily Kuze’s fault, as the players he’ve had to choose from isn’t the best in the league, plus they’ve had several injuries. They weren’t all bad against Urawa though, and by half-time the score were still tied. Although Urawa were running the game, JEF had some chances as well, and Ryota Aoki could have given them the lead. But instead, Tulio scored for Urawa on the hour break. Tulio, who’s changed into a midfielder this season, scored on one of his offensive surges to give Urawa the lead. JEF became more offensive after that, trying to equalize, but instead Urawa counter-attacked through Soma, who easily made it 2-0. Edmilson got the honour of finishing the game off with his 4th goal of the season. Urawa had 19 shots to JEF’s 8, and in the end it was a deserved win.

After 3 straight losses, a win were important for Nagoya, who with a bit of luck, ended up as winners against Tokyo. Both teams are top 4 in the league, and it was important with a good result here. Tokyo were by far the best team, and had the most of the chances. But Nagoya was the only team to score, when Sugimoto received a heading pass from Johnsen, before he scored a lucky goal. Shiota in the Tokyo goal, shold have saved it, but he seems to had miscalculate the angle of the ball. Tokyo pressed on for the equalizer, and especially in the 2nd half when some fresh legs were introduced they looked good. They even had a penalty-kick, but Yusuke Kondo hit the cross-bar. A good win for Nagoya, but Tokyo showed once again that they are to be take serious this season, and a top 3 finish might be within reach for them if they continue like this.

Yokohama F Marinos Omiya Ardija 1-1
Y:Oshima 51’
O: Denis Marques 16’

Omiya’s role as a bogey team for Marinos continued here, as the home team once again failed to beat Omiya in the league. This was the 7th league-clash between them, and not in a single one of them have Marinos gotten 3 points. They were by far the better team this match though, but they let Omiya score an easy goal early on when denis Marques scored with a header following a Fujimoto cross.Marinos pushed on fora goal of themselves, and equalized just minutes after the 2nd half kick-off through Oshima, who were played free by Roni. Both teams had big chances at the end, where Roni had the biggest one with his shot that hit the post. Marinos had 16 shots to Omiya’s 8, and have now only 1 win from their last 4 matches.

Albirex Niigata Shimizu S-Pulse 3-0
A: Chiyotanda 2’ , Alessandro 61’,83’

In front of over 36 000,Albirex took a very impressive and very important win beating Shimizu with 3 goals to none. Matsushita was the man behind both of Albirex’s first 2 goals. Albirex won a free kick in midfield, which the midfielder neatul curled into the box, where Chiyotanda headed Albirex into the lead. In the 61st minute, Alessandro was on the receiving end on an almost indentical cross. Poor defence from Shimizu, but their biggest problem lied in attack, as they blew several chances to get levelled. They had the same amount of shots as Albirex, but didn’t managed to find the net. Alessandro rounded it off with another shot, this time with a low-drive from distance. A good result, that lifte Albirex to 15th, ahead of Shimizu in goal-difference only.
R: Suganuma 11’, Ishikawa 15’, Ota 19’

After 3 strong performances against Gamba,Urawa and Kashima, Vissel lost 0-3 at Kashiwa this round, which puts then in 11th place. Reysol climbed to 7th, only 4 points behind the 3rd placed team. The match were quite eventful, with tons of chances at both ends. But Reysol always looked the most likely team to score, and took the lead in the 11th minute through Suganuma, who met a cross from Popo with his head. Just 4 minutes later Ishikawa scored with another header, before Ota made it 3-0 in the 19th minute. A shock-start for Kobe, who were forced to make a tactical substitution early on to try go get back into the match. It helped a little, but the finishing were too poor. Especially Okubo, who had one of his worser days, looked helpless up front. Kashiwa had 18 shots to Vissel’s 15, and took an impressive win, considering they are without 5-6 of their best players.
V: Leandro 5’, Diego 21’, Hulk 33’

Consadole lost their 4th match in a row when they met Verdy at home this round, and the difference between the teams were Verdy’s brazilian lineup up front. All 3 brazilians got a goal each, and Leandro gave them a dream-start with his header in the 5th minute. Diego added another before Hulk took a powerful ground-shot from the right to make it 0-3. Consadole looked poor, and Verdy controlled the match from beginning to end. In one of the few good Consadole periods though, Clayton reduced the score to 1-3, but they never really looked to threaten Verdy this match. Verdy had 25 shots to Consadole’s 4, and if they continue like this they can aim for a top 10 finish ( they currently lies in 13th).
K: Taniguchi 23’, Terada 47’, Juninho 59’,61’

After 4 matches unbeaten, Jubilo lost 1-4 at home vs Kawasaki who climbed to 3rd with their 4th consecutive win. However, Jubilo got off to the best start, as Hiroki Bandai led a counter-attack before he finished it with a terrific shot to make it 1-0. Taniguchi equalized after a set-play in the 23rd minute, and just after the break Terada scored a similar goal to make ot 1-2. A brace from Juninho around the hour break meant Kawasaki were up by 4-1. With 15 shots to Jubilo’s 9, it was a well-deserved win, and Kawasaki are now the form-team in J1.

Monday, May 5, 2008

R11 - J2 Results

J2 - round 11:

Cerezo Osaka Tokushima Vortis 1-0
C: Komatsu 64’

Cerezo took a very important win over Tokushima this round, and climbed to 2nd place in the table with that. But Cerezo got one more match played than most other teams, and can fall to 6th if all the teams behind win their next match. But Cerezo didn’t impress, and with a bit more luck, Tokushima could have won this. In the opening minutes,Yamamoto in the Cerezo goal slipped which led to Doumbia being through on goal. But his shot were too loose, and cleared on the line by a defender who had raced back to step in for Yamamoto.
IF that had been a goal, the match would probably have been much different, and perhaps Tokushima would have stolen all points. Cerezo’s goal came in the 64th minute, as Shimizu in the Tokushima goal didn’t manage to held a Kakitani cross, and Komatsu where the first to react as he tapped the ball into the open net. Cerezo hadn’t that many chances this match, and it’s worrying that it took a personal error from the goalkeeper to score a goal on one of the poorer teams in the league, especially considering the impressive firepower they have up front. Doumbia were on fire once again in the dying minutes, but his well-taken shot flew inches past the top corner, and Cerezo could celebrate their 3rd win in 4 matches.

Sanfrecce Hiroshima Montedio Yamagata 1-0
S: Sato 68’

Almost 15 000 had met up to cheer Sanfrecce to victory over Montedio, but the home-side faced a very defensive Montedio-side, who only had 2 shots on goal the entire match. The first half were a real snooze-fest, with no major chances at all for either of the teams. Montedio stood with 10 men behind the ball always, and Sanfrecce struggled to find a way past them. But in the 2nd half things changed, and suddenly Sanfrecce bombared Montedio with shots. It took a nice dribbling run from Hirashige to score the goal though, as he beat a couple of defenders before laying it out for Sato, who scored his 6th goal of the season.

Sagan Tosu Mito Hollyhock 3-0
S: Takahashi 66’, Takachi 85’, Ishida 88’

Following their big defeat at Vegalta last round, Sagan bounced back with a big win over strugglers Mito, who fell to last place in the table. It was never any doubt where the points would end up in this match and although all of Sagan’s goals caame in the 2nd half, they dominated from the start. Mito got Nakamura sent off after 32 minutes, which basically ended their chances of a win. Mito defended well though, and it took a free-kick to break the deadlock. Sagan’s 2nd goal also came from a FK, while the third were a powerful shot from distance. Sagan had 18 shots to Mito’s 7, and lies in 4th place now.

Shonan Bellmare Avispa Fukuoka 4-0
S: Adiel 11’, Ishihara 14’,52’, Lincoln 88’

If Avispa continues like this for a much longer, coach Pierre Littbarski might have to look out for a new job soon. 0-4 against fellow promotion-candidate Shonan away is horrible, and the loss means Avispa lags down in 10th place. Shonan took the lead in the 11th minute, after Adiel headed home a corner kic. Just 3 minutes later, Ishihara made it 2-0, also from a header following a corner-kick. That means Avispa had a tough task ahead of themselves, being two goals behind so early in the match. They put up a good fight tough, and had some chances on their own. But neither of the strikers had the best of days, and none of them managed to find the net.Ahead of this season Avispa brought in 3 big names up front, but neither of them have impressed so far, and the one who have scored the most is infact Okubo, the one striker they kept from last season. Ishihara scored his 2nd straight after kick-off in the 2nd half after a terrific ross from Suzuki found him unmarked. Former Avispa man Lincoln got the honour of finishing the game off, with a late goal.

FC Gifu Ehime FC 0-3
E: Akai 7’, Miyahara 23’, Ego 25’

It was the finishing that divided these teams this match, as Gifu squandered alot of chances while Ehime for once proved to be very efficient. The visitors won 3-0, but the result doesn’t tell the whole picture as it was much more even than that. the first goal came after a long-pass found Akai, who finished off coolly with the goalkeeper. Ehime use their tactic well, and powerful shots from both Miyahara and Ego midway through the 1st half meant a win were already beyond reach for Gifu. The home-side didn’t give up though, and had quite alot of chances to score in the 2nd half, but as neither of their strikers managed to hit the target, they ended up losing big. 0-3 at home is not acceptable, and although it was an even match, Gifu needs to sharpen themselves up ahead of the next match.

Thespa Kusatsu Ventforet Kofu 0-0

Ventforet were very unlucky not to win against Thespa away, as they dominated the match from beginning to end, and had tons of chances gone begging. Thespa played their 4th draw in a row actually, and seems to have picked up their habit from last season, when they had the most draws in the league. Ventforet overwhelmed Thespa already from the start, and had 3-4 dangerous chances already within the first 15 minutes. But neither of them went in, and Thespa’s keeper had one of his better days this match, and managed to stop everything Kofu threw at him. Thespa didnt have a single big chance the entire match, and were outshot 5-18.

Yokohama FC Roasso Kumamoto 5-0
Y: Anderson 25’,42’46’, Nanba 52’, Cho 62’

It was Anderson show when Yokohama met Roasso at home this round, as the speedy brazilian scored 3 goals in Yokohama’s 5-0 win. The first goal came through a penalty in the 25th minute, and just before the break Anderson added another after a nice counter-attack. The match weren’t as one-sided as the final scoreline suggests actually, and Roasso had just as many shots on goal as Yokohama. but Anderson were the difference between the teams and straight after kick-off for the 2nd half he completed his hat-trick. Just minutes later, Nanba added a 4th. Korean Cho got the honour of finishing off the game with a nice header in the 62nd minute, and the home crowd had many reasons to celebrate this match. Roasso pushed for a consolation goal or two, but failed to score and were humiliated in the end, and have lots of work to do ahead of their next match.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

R10 - J1 Results

U: Abe 70’

Vissel did well in keeping Urawa at home this round, as the teams battled it out for 1-1. In fact, the home team looked the better side, and probably deserved the win. But it was Urawa that had the biggest chances, and took the lead in the 70th minute from a Yuki Abe rocket. Abe received a pass from Tulio, before he slotted it home to make Urawa go 1-0 up. But with little time remaining, Vissel threw on an extra FW, to try to equalize, and succeeded 9 minutes after through the speedy Yoshida.Vissel were the best team in the beginning of the match, and should have been in the lead by half-time. Urawa came very close the winning goal in injury-time though, as both Tulio and Umesaki had dangerous shots on goal. Vissel had 11 shots to Urawa’s 14.

Kawasaki Frontale Kashima Antlers 3-2
F: Taniguchi 25’, Tese 56’, Nakamura 58’
A: Marquinhos 13’, Aoki 33’

Kashima once again fell apart in the 2nd half, after being 2-1 up by half-time. Marquinhos gave them the lead with a spectacular volley-kick after only 13 minutes, but Taniguchi’s strike levelled the score in the 25th minute. But Takeshi Aoki put the visitors up in the lead again in the 3th minute, with a well-placed longshot from outside the box. That meant Kashima were still in the lead by half-time, but it didn’t took long before Kawasaki were levelled again. Chong Tese equalized after a quick counter-attack in the 56th minute, and just 2 minutes later Kengo Nakamura headed home what would be the winning goal. Antlers were pretty good in the first half, but, were totally outplayed later on, and lost fully deserved. An important win for the home team, who climbed to 5th and are only 1 point behind Kashima who lies in 4th.

Shimizu S-Pulse Jubilo Iwata 1-1
S: Hara 48’
J: Komano 34’

The Shizuoka-derby proved to be a very entertaining one, with lots of nerve and also some good football from both teams. Jubilo took the lead when Japan NT-back Komano scored a neat goal after a delicate cross in the 34th minute. Jubilo were quite good at the start, and had several chances to score over the opening 45 minutes. However, the match changed totally for the 2nd half, as Shimizu went raced out of the blocks, and scored after only 3 minutes through Hara to equalize. Shimizu took more over now, and as Jubilo got Kawamura sent off after 65 minutes, they were the dominant side for the remaining minutes of the match. But despite several chances, they didn’t manage to beat Kawaguchi in the Jubilo goal, who came up with many good saves this match. Shimizu had 16 shots to Jubilo’s 10, and probably deserved the win.

JEF Utd Ichihara Kashiwa Reysol 0-1
R: Alex 37’

JEF’s misery continued this round, as they lost 0-1 at home in the derby match vs Kashiwa. That means JEF are still without a win, and being 9 points clear of relegation after only 10 matches, their season looks doomed already. JEF opted to use Seiichiro Maki from start this match, although it was obvious he wasn’t near being fit. Maki were subbed early in the 2nd half, and it might have been a better solution to use a fit player from the start. Actually, the 2 substitute strikers Reinaldo and Kokeguchi, looked sharp and both had shots on goals that could easily have gone in. But that doesn’t change that Reysol were the best team overall, outshooting JEF 19-6. Reysol are in the middle of scandal now, as their player Shigehara has been charged with panty-theft, which lead to the club suspending him for the time being. Therefore, a win to get the focus off him were important here, and Alex’s goal just before the break proved to be the winning goal. He curled in a free-kick from the right, that flew past everyone and into the top corner. Despite the loss, JEF’s fans remained in the stadium after the game, cheering the team on and showing they support them despite the slump in form.

Tokyo Verdy Yokohama F Marinos 3-2
V: Hulk 39’, Diego 51’, Fukunishi 60’
Y: Roni 46’, 71’

Verdy took an impressive win against Marinos this round, and climbed out of the relegation-zone with that. The match were overall evenly contested, but Verdy had a little more spark in their finishes, and also had the most chances. Marinos started off best though, and came close on a couple of occasions in the opening minutes. Hulk gave Verdy the lead with his 2nd goal of the season just before the break, as a cross from the left found an unmarked Hulk, who had an easy task scoring the opening goal. A bit against the play, as Marinos were by far the best team in the first half.
Just minutes into the 2nd half though, Marinos equalized through Roni who used his speed to get away from the Marinos defenders and with no hesitation finished off beautifully alone with the keeper. but Verdy answered within the next 5 minutes, after Diego and Hulk combined well to make it 2-1. Fukunishi added a 3rd on the hour-break, before Roni reduced the lead with his 2nd goal of the match. A very competitive match, and Verdy can be happy with claiming all 3 points.

Omiya Ardija FC Tokyo 0-3
T: Kajiyama 15’, Cabore 32’, Nagatomo 74’

The perhaps most surprising result of the round were Tokyo’s big win away at Omiya, who didn’t stop before they had won 3-0. Omiya weren’t that bad though, and came off to a good start with several chances. But the finishing weren’t that great, and Kajiyama exploited an error in defence to make it 1-0 to Tokyo instead after only 15 minutes. After 32 minutes, Tokyo doubled their lead through Cabore who scored with a nice lob. Omiya the most of chances this match, but neither Pedro Junior or Denis Marques managed to find the net. The 2 brazilians have been good most of the time this season, but were only shadows of themselves here. Tokyo added a 3rd late in the match through Nagatomo, and despite Omiya outshooting them 18-12, Tokyo deserved the win. That means Tokyo now are in joint 1st place, while Omiya slipped to 7th.
N: Ogawa 37’
G: Bare 24’, 69’

Nagoya lost their 3rd consecutive match this round, and the gas seems to have run out of the them now. The brazilian striker Bare proved a handful for the Nagoya defence, and scored 2 nice goals for the visitors. First, in the 24th minute, he put them 1-0 up with a nice volley shot. A few minutes before the break, the once again very impressive wing-back Ogawa scored with a left-footed shot just outside of the box. The match had several chances for both teams, and with a bit more luck, Nagoya could have ended up winners instead. But Gamba looked better in attack, and another volley-shot from Bare in the 69th minute sealed the win for the struggling Osaka team, who with the win climbed to 8th.

After 3 consecutive losses, Kyoto got back on winning track with a hard fought 1-0 over fellow newly-promoted Consadole at home. Kyoto dominated the match in all ways, and were the far better team. They had 20 shots to Consadole’s only 4, and should have won by a bigger margin. Ataliba gave them the lead after 20 minutes, after he combined well with Sato with an overlap run. Kyoto and Yanagisawa especially had several chances to double the lead, but poor finishing let them down. The result means Consadole now have 3 losses in a row, and currently lies 2nd to last.

Oita Trinita Albirex Niigata 3-1
O: Kanazaki 12’, Matsuhashi 38’, Kobayashi 51’
A: Yano 78’

After 5 matches unbeaten, Albirex succumbed to a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Oita this round. The home team took their 4th win of the season, and currently holds 11th place. Mu Kanazaki gave them the lead after only 12 minutes following a quick counter-attack. Matsuhashi doubled the lead just before the break, after a scramble ahead of Albirex’s goal. Ryo Kobayashi made it 3-0 6 minutes into the 2nd half with a a nice run, which killed the game off. Albirex weren’t that bad though, and has just as many chances as the home team. But they could only manage a consolation goal, which came at the end of the match on a header from Kisho Yano.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Cerezo Osaka - Tokushima Vorts preview

Cerezo Osaka Tokushima Vortis

Cerezo have 3 players out with long-term injuries, but have done reasonable well without them so far, although especially Furuhashi have been missed up front. Tokushima as well got some injury problems, and are without 2 offensive regulars. Cerezo looked a top team for the first time this season when they beat Ehime 4-1 away last round, which might be an indication that they are approaching form. Also last season, Cerezo were kinda slow-starters, but went on to be the 2nd best team in the league in the latter half of the season. Tokushima were outplayed by Sanfrecce last round, and lost 1-4 at home. After 3 wins in a row, they now seem to be a bit out of shape again.

Cerezo’s home form is not bad, with 4-1-1 on last 6. Tokushima away got 1-2-3. All previous meetings gives us 3-1-0. Cerezo are naturally huge favorites here, and anything but a home win would be very surprising. Cerezo are without their best striker, but in his absence, Rui Komatsu seems to have found his form, and scored in the last 2 matches. Brazilian FW Careca is placed on the bench, and surprisingly rookie Shiratani is chosen ahead of both him, Kakitani and Yasuhito Morishima. Shiratanai are yet to score, but have been quite good considering his young age. The best and most important player have been Kagawa though, who have been one of J2’s best players so far. Tokushima also got a speedy dribbler in Doumbia, who almost alone won 3 matches for Tokushima some weeks ago. He’s struggled a bit more lately though, and meets here a tough defence.

With Cerezo going out in a 4-3-3 formation which have worked really well the other times they’ve tried it this season, they should be able to beat Tokushima comfortably, and probably win by a couple of goals.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

R10 - J2 results

Ehime FC Cerezo Osaka 1-4
E: Yokoyama 20’
C: Komatsu 24’, Ale 27’, Germano 33’, Kagawa 89’

Cerezo finally showed their full potential this round, as they outplayed Ehime away in a 4-1 win. Although Ehime got off to the best start, taking the lead through Yokoyama in the 20th minute after a pre-emptive attack. But just 4 minutes later, Rui Komatsu, who were once again choosen instead of the disappointing Careca, equalized with a nice finish. Ale and Germano added 2 more in the following minutes, which mean Ehime’s chances of a point were already vanished. Cerezo were on fire this match, and especially Shinji Kagawa impressed, with great vision in his passing as well as some effective and tricky dribbling. Kagawa created several chances for his team-mates, and rounded off an almost perfect display with a goal in injury-time. Cerezo had 24 shots to Ehime’s 8, and for the first time this season, Cerezo looked J1 quality. With Cerezo resting next match, they will have a big advantage ahead of their next match, not having to cope with the tight schedule following Golden Week.

Avispa Fukuoka Thespa Kusatsu 1-1
A: Hisanaga 59’
T: Shimada 73’

Avispa once again put up a disappointing result against a smaller team as they were held by Thespa at Nack5 Stadium in Fukuoka. Actually it was the visitors that got off to the best start as well, and should have gone 0-1 up after 14 minutes. Avispa looked shaky in defence, and didn’t create too much up front either. But on the hour break, Hisanaga gave the home-side the lead after stealing the loose ball before he sank a shot pwast the Thespa goalie. With Thespa looking exhausted, it looked good for Avispa as they were in a good period now, but in thr 73rd minute Shimada scored with a well-placed shot rom distance to make it 1-1. Not much more happened after that, and Avispa could once again see 2 points go begging. Avispa had 11 shots to Thespa’s 9, and a draw seems the most fair result.

Roasso Kumamoto Ventforet Kofu 2-1
R: Komorida 26’, Yanu 52
V: Fujita 48’

Roasso took their 2nd win of the season and climbed out of bottom-place when they beat in-form Kofu 2-1 at home. A surprising result, and Roasso were equal to Kofu all through the match, and deserved the win. Komorida gave Roasso the lead after 26 minutes, with a direct free-kick that flew past the Kofu keeper. Roasso defended well for the rest of the half, denying Kofu any chances whatsoever. However, the visitors equalized jsut 3 minutes into the 2nd half through Fujita, but Roasso were soon to respond. Yanu put the home-side 2-1 up in the 52nd minute. Roasso got former Lyn Oslo player Ji Ho Cha sent off midway through the 2nd half, but despite being a man down, they managed to defend their lead and take their first win in 7 matches.

Vegalta Sendai Sagan Tosu 3-0
V: Hirase 57’ Okayama 73’, Sekiguchi 84’

Vegalta seems to have hit scoring form, and got 3 goals for the 2nd consecutive match. The difference from last match though, is that they didn’t conceded anyone here, which is impressive considering their opposition.Sagan have now lost 2 out of the last 3 matches, and seems to have fallen a bit off pace. They held Vegalta for a long time though here, and the first goal didn’t come before the 60th minute, through veteran striker Hirase, who started his first match of the season following his 2 goals last match. Hirase scored following a corner kick, which was also the case with Vegalta’s 2nd goal, which came through Okayama. Sekiguchi added a 3rd right before the final whistle with a beautiful shot from distance to seal the win for Vegalta. Vegalta outplayed Sagan this match, and had 25 shots to Sagan’s 8.

Mito Hollyhock FC Gifu 1-3
M: Arata 40’
G: Moriyama 26’, Katayama 76, 89’

2 of the teams that have impressed most this season are minnows Mito and Gifu, and they met in Mito this round, where Gifu impressed with a nice 3-1 win.That means Gifu lies in 7th, and have had a very good start to their season, especially considering they are rookies in J2. Moriyama gave them the lead midway through the 1st half, with a well-placed finish. In-form Mito striker Arata equalized just before the break, after getting past a Gifu defender. As the match wore on, both teams’ players got tired, but in the end Gifu had most gas left in the tank, and a double-brace from Katayama sealed the win for the visitors. Mito had 5 shots, while Gifu managed 13, so there’s no doubt Gifu deserved the win.

Montedio Yamagata Shonan Bellmare 1-0
M: Hasegawa 50’

Montedio and Shonan battled it out in Yamagata this round, where the home team took a narrow 1-0 win. The match were quite evenly played, where the balance of play shifted constantly between the 2 sides. Montedio were best in the first half though, and came close on a couple of occasions after some nice performances from Ishikawa on the wing. Montedio took the lead 5 minutes into the 2nd half, as Hasegawa met a free-kick from Miyazawa with his head to make it 1-0. Montedio changed to a more defensive formation after that, and Shonan threw on some extra firepower to try to equalize.Even the introduction of Lincoln didn’t resulted in any goals, and Montedio ended up with all 3 points in a match that according to play might as well should have ended a draw.

Tokushima Vortis Sanfrecce Hiroshima 1-4
T: Nishikawa 12’
S: Morisaki 10’, 14’, Sato 11’, 86’

Sanfrecce impressed once again as they beat Tokushima 4-1 away. Tokushima lost their 2nd match in a row after a good period, and currently find themselves in 11th place. the match started off with a blast, as with 4 goals between the 10th and 14th minute. First, Koji Morisaki scored with a left-footed shot in the 10th minute, before Hisato Sato added another after an Aoyama cross the minute later. Tokushima responded, and scored on the following corner through Nishikawa a minute later. But Sanfrecce wanted to kill the game off early, and Koji Morisaki added another 2 minutes later to make it 1-3. Tokushima had some chances to reduce Sanfrecce’s lead, but lack of accuracy in the finishing let them down. After scoring tons of goals and showing some very promising play up front, Tokushima this match looked a bit off form, conceding easy goals as well as not combining as they used to up front. We had to wait until the 86th minute for the last goal, which came through Hisato Sato. Both teams had 10 shots on goal, and the match weren’t as one-sided as the result suggests. All in all, a good performance from Sanfrecce though.