Monday, June 30, 2008

R23 - Morishima goal not enough to beat Roasso

Roasso Kumamoto - Cerezo Osaka 3-2
R:Kijima 22', 80', Yamauchi 90'
C: Komatsu 20', Y.Morishima 77'

Cerezo's misery doesn't seem to end, as they lost 3-2 against bottom-placed Roasso Kumamoto away this round. A very disappointing result for them indeed, and their defensive struggles seems to be their biggest problem. They've conceded alot of goals lately, and the loss of Maeda especially in central-defence seems to hurt their cause.

Up front, Cerezo haven't been too bad though, and usually manages to bags a few goals in every game. Only Sanfrecce have scored more than them this season actually. Rui Komatsu gave the visitors the lead after 20 minutes, but just 2 minutes later Kijima equalized through a penalty. A somewhat lucky PK, and it came in a good Cerezo-period. In total, Cerezo were the best team before the break, and should have gone to half-time with a lead.

But they had to settle with a 1-1 draw, and the score stayed like that until substitute Yasuhito Morishima scored his first goal of the season to send Cerezo 2-1 up with just 13 minutes left to play. A nice goal, and the out-of-favour striker who's fallen out with coach Levir Culpi handed in a good application to start the next match, if the ace striker Furuhashi are still injured. Neither Kakitani,Shiratani or Careca have managed to score too many goals this season, and if Morishima takes his chances well Culpi are forced to start him soon.

Roasso didn't give up though, despite the short time left to play. Once again they equalized immediately, and once again through Kijima who scored his two first ever J.League goals this game. This was Kijima's only second start for Roasso this season. In injury-time, the home-fans erupted in pure joy as Kijima's substitute Yamauchi, who only had been on the field for 2 minutes, scored the match-winning goal with a powerful shot just outside the box. Roasso had a total of 13 shots to Cerezo's 14, and overall the visitors looked the best team, and probably deserved the win. But credit to Roasso for giving their all, and this win came mainly because they refused to give up.

Friday, June 27, 2008

J2 - round 22 results

Sanfrecce Hiroshima Tokushima Vortis 2-1
S: Takahagi 26’, Sato 31’
T: Meta 18’

Sanfrecce keeps winning, and this round they beat the struggling Tokushima 2-1 at home. The win should have been bigger though, but as has often been the case this season, Sanfrecce are having difficulties killing games off, and win by solid margins. Alot of their victories have been by a single goal, but in the end that is enough, and their league position tells that they are succeeding. Against Tokushima, they went 1-0 down early in the match, as Meta scored for the visitors, but it didn’t take long before they had turned it around. 2 quick goals by winger Takahagi and NT-striker Sato meant Tokushima were now trailing by a goal. Both goals were nice, and Sanfrecce only continued with the pressure. Tokushima once again had to play without Doumbia up front, and his absent were clear, as the offensive played weren’t too impressive. They still got off a handful of shots, but Sanfrecce’s lead never really looked threatened. Sanfrecce had plenty of chances to add to their 2 goals, but didn’t manage to find the net. Sanfrecce had 16 shots to Tokushima’s 6.

Vegalta and Roasso shared the spoils in a boring 0-0 match this round, a result the home team has to be most unsatisfied with. Not beating the poorest team in the league at home is poor, and another 2 points lost. For Roasso, they still struggle to win, but atleast they got 2 draws out of the last 3 matches now. Vegalta were as expected dominating the play, and Roasso took a very defensive stance to the match, and went for counter-attacks. Vegalta struggled to break down the tight defence, but still managed to get to some chances. More than often, they fired off helpless shots from distance though. Roasso’s tactic paid off, and they could even have won it, as they hit the crossbar in the middle of the 2nd half. Very near a 1-0 lead, which would have been a very surprising score. Vegalta’s maybe biggest chance came 2 minutes from full-time, but Hirase’s volley were saved by Roasso’s keeper. Vegalta had 15 shots to Roasso’s 10.

FC Gifu Avispa Fukuoka 0-1
A: Hisanaga 62’

Avispa too a much-needed, and perhaps a bit lucky win at Gifu this round, which meant they leapfrogged Gifu in the table. Avispa now lies in 9th, one point ahead of Gifu.
Gifu were the best team this match, but poor finishing let them down, which is the complete opposite of what we saw earlier in the season, when Gifu were the highest-scoring team in the league. The 2 Kata’s up front, Katagiri and Katayama only got 2 goals in total within the last 10 matches, which is pretty disappointing.
Gifu’s Kitamura got injured right before the break, and his absence in the 2nd half let Avispa get more into the match. The ”thugs from Kyushu” are known for their rough play, and this match they put even more life into that statement, as they had 6 players with yellow cards, as well as Tanaka sent off. A few minutes before the sending off, Avispa’s Hisanaga gave the visitors the lead with a well-placed header. A bit against the play, but the steady midfielder once again showed his worth to his team. Gifu were now a man up, but didn’t managed to take advantage of it, and in the end they lost again. Their home form is terrible, and no wonder some of their fans have stopped coming to home games. Gifu had 10 shots to Avispa’s 6.

Sagan Tosu Ehime FC 2-1
S: Takachi 23’, Fujita 50’
E: Minami 77’

With 3 wins in a row, Sagan have now climbed to 4th in the table, just 2 points behind Montedio and Cerezo ahead of them.¨That’s impressive, especially considering how few goals they score. They dominated this match though, and already early on they came to big chances. In the 23rd minute Takachi put them 1-0 with a nice shot from his left-foot, which were the only goal we saw in the first half. A few minutes into the 2nd half, Sagan’s prolific striker Fujita were on target once again, as he met a cross from Hirose with his head to make it 2-0. Sagan continued attacking after their 2nd goal as well, which led to some counter-attacks from Ehime. Minami copied Fujita with a similar heading goal in the 77th minute, but in the end Sagan stood out the distance, and secured all points. Sagan had 12 shots to Ehime’s 9.
M: Miyazaki 48’

Struggling Shonan have now gone 5 matches without a win, and fallen to 7th place cause of that. They are 18 points behind front-runners Sanfrecce, and need to turn it around quickly if they’re aiming for a top 3 finish. Against the form-side Montedio though, they did well to manage a draw. A bit lucky perhaps, because Montedio were the best team. The first half weren’t much to write home about, atleast until Shonan’s opening goal. Abe dribbled his way past a few defenders, before he neatly backheeled a pass to Ishihara, who coolly put the home team 1-0 up. A nice goal, and Shonan could go to half-time as leaders. Montedio replied immediately after the break though, as subsitute MF Miyazaki came in and scored on one if his first involvements. A bit surprising the talented midfielder didn’t start, as he has been in good form this season and has 5 goals in the last 7 matches. After the equalizer, Montedio pushed forward for a winner, and put Shonan under big pressure. Both Sato And Miyazawa had big chances to score, the accuracy were lacking in the finishing, and it ended a draw. Shonan had 6 shots to Montedio’s 12.

Struggling Yokohama took their first win in 7 matches as they somewhat luckily beat Mito 1-0 at home this round. Mito’s form weren’t too good either, and in fact this was their 3rd straight defeat. Mito got off to the best start here though, and had a few chances to take the lead early on. But instead it was Yokohama that scored, against the play, in the 3th minute through Nanba. After a corner Nanba reacted the quickest on the spill ball, and out the home-team 1-0 up. Mito did their best to get back into the match for the 2nd half, and even threw on 2 extra FW’s. But Yokohama rode it out in the end, and took a long-awaited win. Yokohama had 8 shots to Mito’s 10.

R22 - Chances gone begging

Cerezo Osaka - Thespa Kusatsu 1-2
C: Komatsu 85'
T: Shimada 20', Tanaka 47'

Cerezo lost 1-2 at home vs Thespa this round, and with that their usuallly so impressive home-record has taken a knock. With just 1 point in the last 3 at home, clearly something is wrong in the Cerezo-camp, and they need to turn it aorund it quickly if they want to maintaint their top 3 position. Luckily for Cerezo, the other teams near the top of the table are all dropping points (Except Sanfrecce though), so they still hold a good position in the table.

Against Thespa, they were once again a bit unlucky not to end up as the winning team, as Cerezo were by far the best team, and also had the majority of the chances. But all the injuries in defence clearly has affected the team's performance, and 9 goals have been conceded in the last 5 matches. They let Thespa have several big chances this match, and the first one came in the 20th minute, when Matsushita struck the crossbar. Just 10 minutes later, Takada were fouled inside the penalty-box, and Shimada converted the PK with ease. With that, the visitors could go to half-time with a one-goal lead. It should get worse too for Cerezo, as just a few minutes into the 2nd half Thespa scored another one, this time through Tanaka after a corner-kick. Once again some sloppy defending, and Culpi must be hoping the regular starters in defence are fit again soon.

But still, with being 2 goals down, Cerezo were the team in charge, and came to plenty of chances. But the finishing weren't good enough, and they had to wait until the 85th minute for the reducer, and by then it was too late to tun the match around. Komatsu were the scorer, but he deserves critic for not getting on the scoresheet earlier. Furuhashi as well looked ineffective, and one has to wonder where his goal-scoring abilities have gone. Compared to last year, he hasn't been too good really, and it's important for Cerezo to get him going. Coach Culpi even threw in the out-of-favour striker Yasuhito Morishima in a desperate attempt to salvage a point, but it didn't help and Thespa could celebrate a very impressive win in the end, and their first ever over Cerezo. Cerezo had 16 shots to Thespa's 6.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

R22 - Cerezo Thespa Preview

Cerezo Osaka Thespa Kusatsu

For Cerezo, there’s still some problems in defence, and now righ-back Yanagisawa are missing too due to suspension. But Ezoe is fit again in central defence, and for Yanagisawa we’ll probably see the new signing Aoyama, who works well both on the wing and as a wing-back. Thespa are only missing Fw Ujihara.

Cerezo’s form took a dip lately, but they managed to win their last match, which might mean they are back in form. The matches they dropped points in, they still played some good football so it doesn’t look too bad ahead of this match. Their home form is 4-1-1. However, Thespa are in great form too, and got 4-1-0 on the last 5, and 7-1-2 on the last 10. They’ve climbed to top 5 in the table, and suddenly looks like a dark horse for promotion. They drew their last match, but should have won it. Away they got an impressive 4-1-1 on the last 6. They don’t do well against Cerezo though, and all previous meetings gives us 4-1-0 for Cerezo. The first meeting this season ended with a 3-1 away win for Cerezo.

Although Thespa are in good form, Cerezo doesnt look too bad either, and on paper they are a much better side. Therefore, I expect a home win, but it could also end as a draw as Thespa are tough to beat now.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

R21- J2 results

After just 2 points in their last 7 matches, Kofu finally managed to win again as they beat in-form Montedio 1-0 at home. A strong win, which ended Montedios winning 7-match winning streak. The match itself were pretty evenly contested, but Montedio had the biggest chances. They started off pretty well, and both Zaizen and Miyazawa came close of scoring. Instead, Hayashi gave Kofu the lead following a header from a corner in the 21st minute.
After the early goal, Kofu decided to defend their lead, and placed most of their players behind the ball. Montedio struggled to break down the tight defence, which led to some dangerous counters for Kofu. But neither of the teams managed to score, and Kofu could take a very important win in the end. Kofu had 10 shots to Montedio’ 8.

Ehime FC Yokohama FC 2-2
E: Oki 13’, Kanamori 69’
Y: Anderson 23’, Elizeu 59’

Alot of rain made the pitch difficult to play at, and both teams went for long balls as it was almost impossible to play short,direct football on the rain-soaked pitch. That seemed to fit Ehime the best, and they took an early lead through Susume Oki. Miyahara found Oki with a clever back-heel, and Oki made no mistake. But Yokohama were soon to equalize, and Anderson reacted the quickest in the 24th minute after the ball were loose in the goalmouth. Cause of the rain, alot of dangerous situations came in both ends, but the score were still 1-1 at half-time. Yokohama’s Elizeu put the visitors 2-1 up after an hour, when he headed home Miura’s corner. But just minutes later, DF Hayakawa were sent off, which opened up things for Ehme. Kanamori equalized shortly after and the teams ended up shairing the spoils. Ehime had 12 shots to Yokohama’s 9, and perhaps should have won this.
V: Okayama 58’, Sekiguchi 75’, Sato 83’

Vegalta took an important, and much needed away win at Tokushima this round. The match ended 1-3, but for long Vegalta looked to be in trouble. Tokushima were by far the best team in the opening half, and came to several chances. Sugawara gave them the lead after beating Vegalta’s goalkeeper one-on-one, a minute before half-time. The lead should have been bigger though, as Tokushima missed several chances. Vegalta looked much better in the 2nd half though, and quickly established a pressure. Okayama equalized in the 58th minute, before Sekiguchi made 2-1 with a beautiful diving header 15 minutes from full time. Tokushima looked stunned, and when Sato added a 3rd for Vegalta just minutes later they knew they had lost. Once again Sekiguchi were the MOM for Vegalta, and he has proved to be their most important player this season. For Tokushima, a disappointing result, especially considering the good first half. Tokushima had 11 shots to Vegalta’s 10.

Sagan were lucky to get away with all 3 points against Roasso this round, but in the end Roasso can only blame themselves for not being able to find the net. Roasso had plenty of chances, but the usually so effective Takahashi in particular had a bad day. Instead Sagan took the lead, and who else then Fujita scored their goal. In injury-time in the first half, Kim played Fujita free, and the striker made no mistake alone with Roasso’s keeper. A bit against the play, but it’s goals that counts.
It was a Kyushu-derby, and therefore a bit of prestige added to the match. But still, only 3000 met up for the match, which underlines that the fans are by no way happy with Roasso’s performance this season. This was a positive outing for them though, and one of their best matches in a long time. They had 14 shots to Sagan’s 7.

Mito Hollyhock Sanfrecce Hiroshima 1-2
M: Hirashige 59’,70’
S: Nakamura 81’

After 3 home wins in a row, Mito fell 1-2 to Sanfrecce this round, and a double from Hirashige in the 2nd half. It was a deserved win, as Sanfrecce had the biggest and most of the chances. Honma in Mito’s goal had a good day though, and kept Mito in the match for a long time. However, in the 59th minute, Ri Han Jae found Hirashige with a nice cross, and the young striker cooly placed the ball behind Honma. Just 11 minutes later, Hirashige did it again, this time from a pass from Morisaki. Mito didn’t give up though, and managed to pull one back through Nakamura, after a free-kick from korean Park. Sanfrecce had 13 shots to Mito’s 9, and in the end it was a deserved win.

Thespa Kusatsu FC Gifu 1-1
T: Takada 70’
G: Katayama 18’

Once again Thespa manages to avoid defeat, but considering their form of late, only 1-1 at home vs Gifu is a bit disappointing. With a win they would only be 1 point clear of 4th place. But Gifu has been good as well lately, and are unbeaten for 5 matches now. They took an early lead through Katayama, after he poked in a rebound from a Katagiri shot.Katayama and Katagiri forms a good pair up front for Gifu, and once again they combined well to set up Gifu’s goal. Thespa looked the best team though, and had several chances to equalize after going down. But they had to wait until the 70th minute for the equalizer, which came through Takada who scored his 4th goal in the last 3 matches. A nice finish from the striker, but after the goal both teams slacked down, and the remaining 20 minutes saw no real chances. Thespa had 14 shots to Gifu’s 8, and probably should have deserved the win.

R21 - Germano to the rescue

Germano came to the rescue with a nice goal in the 89th minute.

Avispa Fukuoka Cerezo Osaka 0-1
C: Germano 89’

After just a single point from the last 3 matches, Cerezo finally managed to win again as they met Avispa away. A rain-soaked pitch made the conditions tough,especially in the first half, and neither of the teams managed to come to much chances. Most of the action took place after the break, and Avispa had several big chances early in the 2nd half. But Aizawa in the Cerezo-goal had a good day, and kept a clean sheet for the first time in 4 matches. Cerezo had most of the pressure though, but couldn’t find a way past Avispa’s goalkeeper. That was until the 89th minute, when Germano finally broke the deadlock with a powerful header from a corner kick. That proved to be the winning goal, and Cerezo could take a much-needed and very important win. Avispa had 12 shots to Cerezo’s 11.

Friday, June 20, 2008

R21 - Ahead of Avispa-Cerezo

Avispa’s form isn’t too bad, considering they’ve only lost 1 of their last 5 matches. 3-1-1 is quite good actually, especially compared to earlier in the season. Their home form is 2-1-3. Avispa’s season so far has been a nightmare, and they are stuck in 10th. Clearly they should be situated higher on the table, considering the players they got. Cerezo’s form has taken a dip lately, with just 1 point in their last 3 matches. Before that they had 7 straight wins. Their away form is 3-1-2, and they’ve been scoring alot away lately. All previous meetings gives us 1-2-4, with Cerezo taking 4 straight wins. That should give them a psychological advantage here.

Avispa are only without Yamagata in defence, but he’s been an important figure this season and will therefore be missed. For Cerezo, Kagawa are likely to miss this match since he’s busy with NT-match the next day. Else, they got 3 defenders out,which means we’ll see Haneda/Yamashita as centre-backs again. They conceded 3 goals in their last match, so clearly they need some time to gel.

Cerezo’s superior head-to-head statistic should give them a psychological advantage, and I’ll rate them as favorites ahead of this match. They are a much better side than Avispa, looks more complete, and despite missing a few players they should be able to win this. But Avispa have improved a bit lately, and might continue doing that. They held Sanfrecce in the last round, which is impressive. I think we’ll see some goals though, as these matches usually provides plenty of them, and both teams are missing some important defenders. Most likely a Cerezo win, or atleast a draw.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Germano MVP for May

Germano was voted the Player of the Month over at J's Goal for May.
A very well-earned award, as Germano has undoubtedly been one of the best players in J2 this season. He's showed his importantness to Cerezo by scoring an impressive 9 goals this season from his midield position. Alot of those has come from PK's though, but even so it's impressive.
Congratulations to him!

J2 - round 20 results

A: Tanaka 89’

Sanfrecce’s winning streak ended at 6, after a last-minute goal from Tanaka denied them a win over Avispa at home this round. It was an open match, and Avispa fought hard to earn their point. In fact, Avispa dominated the opening half, with several chances to go 1-0 up. But Sanfrecce’s 36 year-old goalie Kidara had a good day, and blocked the shots that were bound for goal. For the 2nd half, the home-team took more over, and controlled the match. Avispa’s players, especially in midfield seemed to run out of steam, which allowed chances for Sanfrecce. The opening goal came after a mistake in the Avispa defence. Takahagi scored the goal, after a powerful right-legged shot that flew past Kamiyama in the Avispa-goal. Sanfrecce decided to defend their lead for the rest of the match, and put most of their players in defence. It seemed to work well, until the last minute when Tanaka fired off a shot from distance that went past everyone. A spectacular finish to the game, and in the end it was deserved. Sanfrecce had 13 shots to Avispa’8.

Montedio Yamagata Vegalta Sendai 3-0
M: Miyazawa 18’, Ishii 66’, Hasegawa 90’

Montedio’s fabulous run continued when they beat Vegalta 3-0 at home in a very entertaining match that saw both teams having plenty of chances. The score might be a little flattering, but no doubt that Montedio deserved the win. This was their 6th win in a row, and they’ve only 5 points behind Sanfrecce in 1st now.
Vegalta had the first big chance of the match, as DF Tamura hit the post after only 4 minutes. But instead it was Montedio that took the lead, through MF Miyazawa. The playmaker met a cross from the right and took a well-placed shot in the 18th minute. Montedio built on the lead, and came to several chances afterwards. Vegalta didn’t manage to create much in this period, and Montedio could go to half-time with a 1-0 lead.
Vegalta once again got off to a good start in the 2nd half, but they failed to hit the net. Then, in the 66th minute were Montedio rewarded a corner. DF Ishii went up and made 2-0 with a perfect header. Right before the end, Hasegawa finished off the game with his 5th goal of the season, which completed the humiliation of Vegalta. Montedio had 15 shots to Vegalta’s 13, and perhaps the win shouldn’t have been by such a big margin. Even so, a very impressive result.

Yokohama FC FC Gifu 0-1
G: Kan 68’

After 5 matches without a win, it was important for Gifu with a good result at Yokohama this round. Despite dominance from the home-side in the majority of the match, Gifu managed to win 1-0, and with that climbed to 9th, only 1 point behind Yokohama in 8th. For Yokohama, it’s somewhat of a crisis now, with just a single point in their last 6 matches.
Yokohama were the best team in the beginning of this match though, and put Gifu under pressure early on but didn’t manage to come to any big chances. Gifu went for counter-attacks, and lied low for most of the match. Their goal came in the 68th minute, after Kan poached in a rebound following a corner-kick. A bit against the play, and Yokohama threw all their men forward after the goal to try to get an equalizer. But instead, that left Gifu to some chances, but as neither of the teams managed to find the net, it ended with a 1-0 win for Gifu. Yokohama had 10 shots to Gifu’s 4.

Ehime FC Mito Hollyhock 2-0
E: Miki 53’, Minami 70’

Mito failed to record their 4rd straight win as they deservedly lost 2-0 away at Ehime.
Ehime looked much sharper in attack, and with this win they leaped past Mito in the table.
The first half were even though, and most of the play took place in midfield, resulting in few chances. Ehime’s players seemed to have a little bit more spring in their step, and in the 2nd half they took more and more over. The opening goal came just 8 minutes into the half, as Miki met a cross from the left with a nice header that Honma in Mito’s goal couldn’t save. Ehime had several chances to double their lead after that, but had to wait until the 70th minute for the 2-0 goal which came through DF Minami. Ehime were deserved winners, and outshot Mito 11-10.

Both Sagan and Shonan entered this match in poor form, so it was interesting to see who managed to up their game most. A single goal from Sagan’s prolific goalscorer Yoshihito Fujita proved to be the winner for the home-team, who ended a streak of 3 defeats with that. In the 35th minute, he scored from the penalty-kick, which was the strikers’ 7th goal this season. It was well-deserved as well, as Sagan were by far the best team before half-time. That continued drastically in the 2nd half though, which were dominated by Shonan. They came to many chances, and even put on a few extra strikers in the chase for the equalizer. But in the end, Sagan’s defence withstood the pressure, and the home team could record a very important win. Sagan had 16 shots to Shonan’s 17, and with each team ”owning” one half, perhaps a draw would be most fair.

Thespa Kusatsu Tokushima Vortis 2-0
T: Takada 54’,65’

Thespa took their 4th win in a row, and their 6th win out of the last 7 matches when they beat Tokushima at home this round. That’s nothing else than impressive, and Thespa are now only 1 point behind Vegalta in 4th. If they continue like this, they might be a dark horse for promotion. Even last season Thespa were a tough team to beat, but their problem was winning matches, as they drew way too many. So that they got quality is obvious, but the question is whether or not they can maintain their good form.
Against Tokushima, it was Yasunori Takada that became the man of the match, with his 2 goals early in the 2nd half. Neither of the teams managed to create a pressure in the first half, and the play shifted from side to side continously. Tokushima had the most of the chances, but never really looked like scoring. Takada put Thespa in the lead in the 54th minute, when he stole the ball from Tokushima’s keeper, and calmly placed the ball in the net. A funny situation, and the goal were a result from Takada’s great awareness. 11 minutes later, he added another as he were cooly played free by the once-again impressive Matsushita. Those 2 goals killed the game off, and Thespa could record yet another win. In fact, it’s the first time in Thespa’s history they’ve won 4 matches in a row. For Tokushima, it was their 11th loss of the season, and they’ve fallen to 14th place in the table.

Cerezo favorites for J1 promotion

In a vote that goes on at J's Goal now, Cerezo are the fans favorite for promotion to J1. In fact, Cerezo's votes in total is more than Vegalta's,Sanfrecce's and Montedio's put together! But, Osaka is Japan's 2nd biggest city, and therefore " generate" alot more votes than for example Shonan does, or for that matter Sanfrecce. But then again, over 100 000 can't be wrong can they? :-)

1.C大阪 Cerezo 112073
2.仙台 Vegalta 41735
3.広島 Sanfrecce 37107
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
4.山形 Montedio 31241
5. 草津 Thespa 12772

6.甲府 Ventforet 7703
7.湘南 Shonan 6017
8.鳥栖 Sagan 3077
9.徳島 Tokushima 3023
10.熊本 Roasso 2187
11.愛媛 Ehime 1480
12.水戸 Mito 1373
13.横浜FC Yokohama 1360
13.岐阜 Gifu 1360
15.福岡 Avispa 1323

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

R20 - Great comeback, but disappointment still

Cerezo Osaka Ventforet Kofu 3-3
C: Own goal 49’, Kagawa 53’, Haneda 90’
V: Maeda 11’, Ishihara 23’, Mito 88’

A season-high attendance of over 13 000 couldn’t help Cerezo beat Ventforet, as the two teams shared the spoils in a very dramatic and exciting 3-3 draw.

As in the first meeting this season, Kofu got off to a great start and took the lead early in the match. Maeda did 1-0 in the 11th minute, and short time after Ishihara doubled the lead after a nice attack. Kofu went for one-touch passing, and attacked with several players every time they got a counter. It proved effective against a Cerezo side that stood high with their defenders, leaving alot of space. The fact that Cerezo played with a newly-componated defence might be one of the reasons too that they conceded 3 goals this match.

For the 2nd half, Cerezo put on Shinji Kagawa, who just had returned from his NT-duties. Kagawa started the match against Thailand the day before, and it was surprising he even made it back in time for this match, let alone got some playing time.

He quickly showed that his run with the NT hadn’t made him a worser player, and within 8 minutes of the 2nd half, he had scored one, and forced a defender into scoring an own goal. Cerezo were suddenly level again, and most fans thought Cerezo now would run away with it. But despite heavy pressure and several chances, the 3rd goal didn’t come. Instead Kofu goes 3-2 up with just 2 minutes left to play, in what was a good Cerezo period. The disappointment were obvious in several of the Cerezo players, and not least the fans, but Cerezo bounced back once again, through defender Haneda who scored his first ever goal for the club.

A nice comeback, and the team showed good spirit in coming from behind on 2 occasions, but in the end they should have won it. Meanwhile Kofu should be unhappy with losing first a 2-goal lead, and also letting Cerezo equalize for a 2nd time in injury-time. Cerezo had 13 shots to Kofu’s 14, but overall Cerezo were the best team.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

R20 - Ahead of Cerezo-Kofu

For Cerezo, there are some injury-problems in defence now,with 3 regulars out. Omata on right-back are replaced by Niwa though, and aren’t the worst loss. But Maeda, Cerezo’s best centre-back are harder to replace, and with Sakata out as well, that makes room for Yamashita. He’s played a few games already this season, and is an offensive centre-back that often are to be found in midfield as well. For Kofu, 2 defenders are out, which should make room for Cerezo’s FW’s, as well as Uruno up front, who scored against Cerezo in the first meeting.
Cerezo’s form has taken a dip lately, with 2 straight losses. Before that, they had an amazing 7 wins-in-a-row streak. In the 2 losses, against Mito and Tokushima, Cerezo didn’t impress too much, but still probably deserved to win. Cerezo’s home form is really good, with 5-0-1 on the last 6. For Kofu, it’s quite bad now, with just a single point in 6 matches. They’ve fallen to 12th in the table, and it’s hard to believe this team were in J1 last season. Their away form is 1-2-3. The teams have met 4 times before, with 2-0-2 from those matches. Kofu won the first meeting this season 3-2 at home, but it was a lucky win.

Cerezo are naturally huge favorites here, and should beat Kofu without too much trouble. They want revenge from the bitter defeat last time, and also needs a win here to get back on track and not fall too much behind Sanfrecce in 1st. Up front, Careca are expected to start alongside Komatsu, and in midfield the very important Germano are back from suspension.

Friday, June 13, 2008

R19 - J2 results

Shonan Bellmare Thespa Kusatsu 2-3
S: Adiel 25’,89’
T: Shimada 43’, Toriizuka 75’, Takada 87’

For the first time in Thespa’s short J.League history, they won 3 matches in a row. And what a win it was, beating one of the big teams away by the score of 3-2, which means Thespa now are in an impressive 7th. It’s only 4 points up to 4th, and if Thespa continues like this, they will finish on the upper half of the table.
Shonan got off to the best start though, and Adiel gave them the lead in the 25th minute after finishing off a cross from Sakamoto. But just before the break, Thespa’s free-kick specialist Shimada scored his 2nd goal of the season on a nice set-piece. That was the only real chance Thespa had the entire first half, and Shonan probably deserved to be in front. But in the 2nd half, Thespa got more involved, and the match looked pretty open. Veteran midfielder Toriizuka, who almost looks re-vitalized nowadays, came off the bench to score for the 2nd match in a row. This time with a beautiful header in the 75th minute, and it proved to be an important goal. Yasunori Takada added another 3 minutes from full-time after being allowed alot of space and time in front of the goal to set up a shot. Adiel reduced 2 minutes after that, but Thespa could celebrate in the end for a very strong victory.

Mito Hollyhock Sagan Tosu 2-1
M: Own goal 43’, Nishino 72’
S: Leonardo 57’

Mito took another big win this round when they beat struggling Sagan 2-1 at home. It was the first time since 2003 that Mito won 3 matches in a row, and they lie in an impressive 11th now. They fully deserved the win as well, outshooting Sagan 19-10 and looked generally stronger than Sagan this match. Mito took the lead just before the break after a cross from the left found Hori, who finished it off via a Sagan defender and into the goal. It was credited an own-goal, but surely it was Hori’s effort that made it. Sagan bounced back some 12 minutes or so into the 2nd half, through midfielder Leonardo. Sagan’s strikers didn’t have the best of days, and neither Fujita or Kim really managed to threat Mito’s keeper. Mito’s topscorer Nishino, who just returned from injury, came off the bench to score the winning goal in the 72nd minute to enormous cheer from the relative small home-crowd. An impressive win for Mito, while for Sagan it was their 3rd straight loss.

Vegalta Sendai Yokohama FC 2-0
V: Hirase 24’, Tamura 68’

After only 2 points in their previous 3 matches, a win were important here for Vegalta’s sake, and they didn’t disappoint the home-crowd, and ended up winning 2-0. They are 4 points behind Cerezo and Montedio now, but have a game in hand, so the gap isn’t too big.
However, Yokohama gave them a hard fight in front of the big home-crowd, and could easily have gotten away with a point. Veteran striker Hirase gave Vegalta an early lead in the 25th minute, after being neatly set-up by the once-again impressive Sekiguchi on the wing. Sekiguchi has probably been Vegalta’s best player this season, and are always a threat to the opposing team. Yokohama opted for experience in the 2nd half, and put on both Nanba and Miura in an effort to get back into the match. They came to more chances after that, but still couldn’t manage to score, and instead Tamura doubled Vegalta’s lead after some nice dribbling from Nishiyama to set him up. With that Vegalta had secured the win, and took 3 important points. For Yokohama, it was the 4th loss in the last 5 matches, and they seem to struggle big-time at the moment.
M: Hasegawa 48’, Sato 52’, Miyazaki 77’

Avispa’s run of wins came to a sudden end when they met in-form Montedio at home this round. The visitors took a cracking 3-0 win, and climbed to 2nd beause of that.
The match were affected by heavy-rain, which led to mistakes at both ends, especially in the first half. But neither of the teams managed to score, and for the 2nd half Montedio took over completely. They only needed 3 minutes to get in front, thanks to a Hasegawa shot. And 4 minutes later, Sato doubled the lead after some very effective counter-play. Avispa tried to get back into the match with a few offensive substitutions, but it didn’t help, and instead Miyazaki added a 3rd for Montedio. Montedio looked rock-solid in defence, and very effective up front, and took their 5th straight win. Very impressive, and suddenly Montedio looks like a contender for promotion.

Gifu drew their 3rd game in a row when they met Roasso this round in a scoreless match. That also means they’ve now gone 5 matches without a win, only scoring a single goal in those matches. That’s nowhere near the team we saw earlier this season, who hammered in goals at every occasion. They were lucky to end up with a point here though, as Roasso were the leading team for most parts of the game. But both teams looked pretty defensive in their build-up, and we didn’t see too many chances in total. In fact, this was the first time ever that Roasso kept a clean-sheet since they gained promotion to J2. They are now 3 points behind Ehime in the table.

Ventforet Kofu Sanfrecce Hiroshima 0-2
S: Takahagi 31’, Sato 84’

Sanfrecce look bound for J1 already as they’re cruising through the season, winning most of their matches pretty comfortably. This round they beat Kofu 2-0 away,on one of their bad days. That usually happens only to the best teams, and it would take a complete breakdown for Sanfrecce not to end up top 3 this season. A little misunderstanding in the translation regarding Hisato Sato and his call-up to the NT made us think that he wouldn’t play this match, but it seems he got dispensation to play here anyway, and instead join the rest of the NT-players later. He scored Sanfrecce’s 2nd goal this match thanks to a header from a short-corner. Before that, in the first half, winger Takahagi had given the visitors the lead after a very quick build-up and nice passing that left the speedy Takahagi with an easy task of scoring. Kofu weren’t all lost though, and had some chances to score themselves. Especially in the first half, and with a bit more luck they could have won this.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

R19 - How to stop Doumbia?


Tokushima Vortis Cerezo Osaka 2-0
T: Doumbia 4’,68’

Cerezo lost their 2nd match in a row when Tokushima beat them 2-0 at home. That means Cerezo slipped down to 3rd, and the gap up to Sanfrecce in 1st are suddenly 7 points. Disappointing, especially considering they played Mito and Tokushima, 2 relatively small clubs. But on the positive side, Cerezo probably deserved to win both, so it’s not that they played particularly bad.

Tokushima got off to a great start and took the lead after only 4 minutes. Seydou Doumbia, who else, scored after Aizawa in the Cerezo goal had to give a rebound on a middle shot from Muguruma. Although Cerezo placed Tokushima under huge pressure for the equalizer, they didn’t manage to score, and Tokushima’s defence played one of their best matches this season. They let Cerezo take many shots though, but alot of them never looked like threatening the keeper. Doumbia were on target once again in the 68th minute, when he coolly finished off another counter-attack. His 2nd goal of the match, and 7th of the season.

Cerezo had the most of the possession though, and were the controlling team from beginning to end. Only on quick counter-attacks did Tokushima look dangerous, but it proved to be very effective. Cerezo were missing Germano and Kagawa in midfield, and with those two on the pitch, perhaps the result would have been different. Cerezo had 19 shots to Tokushima’s 10.
Jun Aoyama started his first match for Cerezo, and the on-loan midfielder form Nagoya played a decent match, and looks to be a good addition. He still needs some time to adapt to the squad though.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

R19 - Tokushima - Cerezo preview

From Cerezo-Tokushima earlier this season

For Tokushima, there are some problems with missing players, and currently they are without 4 regulars. The biggest loss is Fujita in defence, who’s suspended for this one. But also the 2 midfielders will be missed. For Cerezo’s sake , Kagawa are still busy with NT, and his partner in midfield and Cerezo-topscorer so far Germano is suspended now. Omata in defence is also out, but Niwa is a good cover for him.

Tokushima’s form is not too good, with just 1 point in their last 4 matches and just a single win in their latest 9. Only Roasso is behind them in the table at the moment. Their home form is not too bad though, with 3-0-3 on the last 6. For Cerezo, they finally lost again after 7 consecutive wins when they met Mito at home last round. A surprising defeat, and Cerezo probably deserved more that match, as they were by far the better team. Cerezo’s away form is 3-1-2. All previous meetings gives us 0-1-4, and Cerezo got 4 straight wins actually.

In the first match this season, Tokushima gave Cerezo a hard fight, and especially Doumbia proved a handful for them. But that time Cerezo werent in their best form, and Tokushima were just about to peak. It’s a bit different now, and I think Cerezo should be able to bounce back quite easily here as they need a win not to fall too much behind Sanfrecce in 1st.

Monday, June 9, 2008

R18 - J2: The Rest

Montedio Yamagata Sagan Tosu 3-0
M: Akiba 10’,56’, Miyazaki 64’

Montedio took their 4th win in a row, and with that climbed to 3rd place on the table after their cracking 3-0 win over Sagan at home this round. However, the result doesn’t tell the whole picture, and Sagan gave Montedio a hard fight, and should have scored a couple of goals themselves as well. Sagan got off to the best start as well, and placed Montedio under huge pressure in the opening minutes. But against the play, Akiba headed home a free-kick taken by Miyazawa, and suddenly the home team were 1-0 up. Both teams came to chances after the opening goal, but we had to wait till 11 minutes into the 2nd half for the 2nd goal, which were another scoring from Akiba. And just 8 minutes later, Miyazaki were for once on the receiving end of a pass, from Ishikawa, and the midfielder made no mistake. The usually so effective Fujita on Sagan alone squanderede 7 shots, and his partner Kim blew 5. In total, Montedio had 13 shots to Sagan’s 20, so it was more even than it seems.
Anyhow a very impressive home-win.

Sanfrecce Hiroshima Shonan Bellmare 5-2
H: Hattori 4’, Makino 12’, Takahagi 31’, Sato 56’, Kubo 76’
B: Ishihara 79’, Nagasato 90’

In what looked on paper as a very tough match, Sanfrecce impressed with some beautiful football and lots of great goals in their 5-2 throbbing of Shonan at home. Sanfrecce were 5-0 up before Shonan got 2 consolation goals, and the win were never under threat.
Hattori gave Sanfrecce the lead after only 4 minutes, after Stoyanov found him with a nice pass. Just 8 minutes later, the talented defender Makino doubled the lead before Takahagi made 3-0 after half an hour. With that, the game were pretty much over for Shonan’s sake, who were totally outplayed. After the break, Sanfrecce continued their dominance, and strikers Sato and Kubo both got on the scoring-sheet to make it 4 and 5-0. Kubo’s goal especially were a cracker, as he took it on a direct volley and curled it into the top corner.
After the 5th goal, Shonan suddenly seemed to wake up, and scored 2 quick goals near the end of the match. But overall, it was a very deserved home-win, and Sanfrecce outshot Shonan 20-13.

T: Ishida 86’

In a very dull and boring match, Yokohama and Tokushima shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw, after Tokushima equalized with a late goal. Yokohama especially disappointed, who despite playing one of the poorer teams in the league, adapted a very defensive style and went for counter-attacks. But the problem were Tokushima did the same, which meant neither of the teams dared to take any chances. It took a keeper-mistake for Yokohama to score the opening goal of the match, as Tokushima’s keeper fumbled on a cross, which gave Yamada a chance on clear goal. He made no mistake, and scored on one of the very few chances we saw for the entire match. But just before the end, Tokushima received a corner, and Ishida jumped the highest to head in the equalizer. Yokohama had only 5 shots on goal, to Tokushima’s 4.

Ehime FC FC Gifu 0-0

Gifu played their 2nd draw in a row this round, and their 4th match in a row without a win. But they still lie in 10th, and have 3 points margin to Ehime in 12th. Ehime got off to the best start, and had several chances in the first half. Especially after some nice play on the left-wing, which Gifu struggled to stop again and again. In the 2nd half, Gifu got more into the match, and especially Katagiri looked a threat. He came to several chances, including a one-on-one situation with Ehime’s keeper, but he lacked accuracy in the finishing. Gifu had 10 shots, to Ehime’s 8, and a draw seemed a fair result in the end.

A: Nakamura 30’, Talay 41’

Avispa seems to have recovered from their poor form now, as they took their 3rd win in a row against Roasso away. The Kyushu-derby were an intense match though, and could have gone either way. Roasso got off to the best start actually, when Satoshi Nakayama
scored his 3rd goal of the season with a nice header from a corner. But after 30 minutes plaued, Nakamura scored the equalizer with a nice shot, and just before the break Talay put Avispa 2-1 up after a penalty-kick. Roasso did their best to get back into the match, but their tactic were easily read by the Avispa defenders, who effectively stopped whatever they threw at them. Roasso had 7 shots to Avispa’s 5, but it was a deserved win.

T: Goto 65’, Toriizuka 90’

Thespa took their 4th win in the last 5 matches this round, as they beat Kofu 2-1 away. An impressive win over a relative strong squad, and Thespa showed again that they are a very difficult opponent. Neither of the teams had too much chances in the first half, and most of the action took place after the break. Kofu had the most of them, but good goalkeeping from Thespa’s side meant the score were still 0-0. In the 65th minute, Thespa took the lead, after Shimada found Goto with a nice pass. The midfielder dribbled his way into the box before he took a shot that flew past the Kofu-goalkeeper.
Kofu fought hard to get back into the match, and had several chances to score. They managed to equalize in the 77th minute, through Akimoto following a set-play.
But Thespa didn’t give up,and in injury-time veteran substitute Toriizuka headed home the winner for the visitors. Kofu had 15 shots to Thespa’s 7, and can only blame themselves for not being more efficient.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

R18 - Bitter defeat for Cerezo

Cerezo Osaka Mito Hollyhock 1-2
C: Komatsu 55’
M: Akahoshi 33’, Arata 68’

Cerezo ended their impressive winning streak when they lost 1-2 at home against Mito this round. A very surprising result, and a somewhat lucky win as well. Not that Mito didn’t deserve their goals, because they played a very efficient and direct football, but with so many big chances for Cerezo’s sake they should have won it pretty comfortably.

Cerezo got off to the best start, and could have taken the lead in the opening minutes. But the finishing weren ’t too good this time, as both Komatsu,Kakitani and Furuhashi blew chances. Instead, it was Mito that took the lead, somewhat against the play. After a foul, former Urawa-starlet Akahoshi sent a free-kick into the net via a Cerezo defender that left Aizawa without a chance to stop the ball. That were the only goal we saw before the half, and the just over 6000 Cerezo-fans in the stand couldn’t believe that they were 1-0 down to a ”minnow” like Mito.
Cerezo came out in the 2nd half looking very hungry for an equalizer, and it took them only 10 minutes before they were levelled again. Rui Komatsu were the man to score, as he poked in his 7th goal of the season. Most people thought Cerezo would run away with it now, but Mito didn’t give up and in the 68th minute Akahoshi found Arata with a nice through pass, and the FW made no mistake alone with Aizawa in the Cerezo goal.

With that, Cerezo’s first loss since April were a fact, and despite outshooting Mito 14-7, they couldn’t find the goals they needed to win. Mito’s GK Honma were a living wall, and a direct cause for Mito’s surprising win.
After the game, Cerezo’s coach Culpi praised Mito’s performance, and meant they belonger much higher on the table.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

R18 - Ahead of Cerezo - Mito

Cerezo Osaka Mito Hollyhock

For Cerezo, Kagawa are still busy with Japan’s WC qualifiers. Right-back Omata has picked up a knock as well, and MF Ale is out with suspension. That makes for some changes to the team, and Niwa is set to cover for Omata, which he have done pretty good earlier this season. In midfield, Cerezo’s latest addition, Aoyama from Nagoya, is set to make his debut as he will most likely take Ale’s place. Aoyama is a very talented midfielder and can turn out to be an important signing for Cerezo. He’s only on loan though. Kakitani,Komatsu and Furuhashi will take the 3 spots up front, and with that they still have a very solid squad. For Mito, no players are missing, and they will field the same 11 that won against Tokushima in the last match.

Cerezo’s form is superb, with 7 wins in a row and 8-1-0 on the last 9. At home they also got 7 straight wins, so Mito has a tough task ahead of them. Mito has gotten a bit better lately though, with 2 wins in their last 3. Away though they are extremely bad, with 0-4-11 on the last 15, meaning they haven’t won away since the middle of last season.
All previous meetings gives us 3-1-1 for Cerezo.

Cerezo are without any doubt major favorites here, and anything but a home would be a sensation. Despite 2 good wins lately, Mito shouldn’t be strong enough to upset Cerezo here. I think we’ll see a few goals too, with Mito usually adapting an offensive formation, even when they meet a superior team. Cerezo are scoring tons of goals at the moment, so that makes for an entertaining match.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

R17 - J2 results

Yokohama FC Montedio Yamagata 2-5
Y: Nanba 48’, Yamada 58’
M: Hasegawa 14’, Kitamura 40’,Miyazaki 72’, Sato 79’, Ishii 82’

Montedio took their 3rd win in a row and climbed to 4th when they beat Yokohama 5-2 away. A cracking win, and it was fully deserved as well. At the moment, Montedio looks to be one of the better teams in the league, but they had a similar period last season only to fall apart after a while,eventually ending around the middle of the table. If they manage to last longer this year remains to be seen, but they look a more complete team now with a few extra additions since last season.
Hasegawa gave them an early lead in the 14th minute, following a swift counter-attack. They showed early on that they were serious about this match, and continued to press Yokohama after the opener. Just before the break, Kitamura doubled their lead. However, Yokohama looked a totally different side after the break, and reduced just 3 minutes into the half. Nanba scored with a header following a corner kick, and just 10 minutes later the teams were deadlocked again, as Yamada equalized following another corner-kick. It seemed to have stunned Montedio, but as Yokohama reduced the pace, perhaps cause they were getting tired, Montedio took over again and scored 3 quick goals near the end of the match to take a very impressive win. Yokohama had 10 shots to Montedio’s 11, but all in all it was a deserved win for the form-side.

Sagan Tosu Avispa Fukuoka 1-3
S: Taniguchi 26’
A: Talay 15’,89’, Nagano 41’

In the Kyushu-derby, Avispa won for the first time this season 2 matches in a row, and seems to finally have gotten out of the bad form they’ve been in. Actually it was Avispa’s 2nd win over Sagan this season, as they also won the first meeting.
A very impressive win too, considering Sagan are one of the top teams so far, but this match the difference in league-position were hard to see, and Avispa for once looked like the team we predicted them to be. Australian international Ufuk Talay gave them an early lead after only 15 minutes, after scoring from the penalty-spot. Avispa placed 2 men of Sagan’s ace striker Fujita, and the japanese topscorer didnt get much done. But that left space for his partner, the young and promising Taniguchi, and he equalized in the 26th minute after being allowed alot of room. That was the young striker’s 3rd goal of the season. Avispa kept their tactic though, and focused on the counter-attacks. In the 41st minute, Nagano placed Avispa once again in the lead following a set-piece, and the teams went to half-time with Avispa being one goal up. The 2nd half weren’t as action-packed as the first, and had very few chances. Sagan struggled to break down the for once steady Avispa-defence, and Avispa sealed the win with another Talay goal in the dying minutes. Sagan had 7 shots to Avispa’s 9.

Vegalta Sendai Shonan Bellmare 2-2
V: Tanaka 6’, Kitani 10’
S: Adiel 16’, Ishihara 54’

This match had it all, lots of goals, 2 red cards, plenty of chances and alot of action. Shonan must find themselves very lucky to escape with a point to, being reduced to 9 men, and being outplayed for most of the match.
Vegalta got off to a great start, and scored twice within the first 10 minutes. Tanaka scored first from a set-piece, before Kitani doubled their lead after a corner-kick. But Shonan reduced on one of their few visits just 6 minutes later, after being awarded a penalty. Adiel made no mistake and scored his 4th goal of the season. Vegalta kept pushing forward though, and came to several chances only to see them go begging. Early in the 2nd half, Adiel and Ishihara combined well with a one-two, which ended with the latter scoring the equalizer. Totally undeserved, but either way a good goal. Then, midway through the 2nd half, susbstitute Abe got a direct red card for Shonan, and just 3 minutes later his team-mate Tamura had to follow him after picking up 2 yellow cards. Wit 11 against 9, Vegalta eyed a winning goal here, but failed to do so and in the end they can only blame themselves for poor finishing. Vegalta had 21 chances to Shonan’s 7.

FC Gifu Ventforet Kofu 1-1
G: Kikuchi 56’
K: Haji 72’

Gifu were fortunate to get away with a point in the match against Kofu at home this round, as only excellent defending and goalkeeping prevented Kofu from scoring more goals. Kofu took charge early on, and had plenty of chances in the opening half. But Hino in the Gifu goal stopped whatever they threw at him. So, just after the break, on one of Gifu’s few chances, Kikuchi put the home-team 1-0 up after a mix-up in the Kofu defence left 2 defenders confused, giving Kikuchi the chance. That was actually Gifu’s first goal for 5 home-matches. But Kofu’s continuing attacks had to be turned into a goal sooner or later, and in the 72nd minute Haji finally beat Hino with a nice header. But that were all they managed, and the match ended a tie. Gifu had only 4 shots to Kofu’s 13.

Mito Hollyhock Tokushima Vortis 1-0
M: Hori 90’

With a last minute goal, Mito took their 2nd win in 3 matches and climbed out of the wooden-spoon spot as they passed Roasso on the table. It was a very entertaining match, with chances to both teams. Mito were overall the dominant side though, and also had most of the chances. Heavy rain and strong wind caused trouble for both teams, which left to some mistakes at both ends, and potential chances to the opposing team. Most of the action took place after the break, where especially Mito had many chances.We had to wait until the 90th minute before the winning goal though, as Hori poked in a rebound from the Tokushima-keeper. Mito had 14 shots to Tokushima’s 6.

Thespa Kusatsu Roasso Kumamoto 2-0
T: Goto 4’, Yamazaki 70’

Thespa took their 3rd win in their last 4 matches, and climbed to 8th on the table ahead the likes of Ventforet Kofu. That’s pretty impressive for such a small club, and Thespa’s success is the result of a very strong defence which makes them hard to beat, plus effective strikers. Bottom-placed Roasso were no match for Thespa, who got off to a great start as an individual run by Goto ended with the 1-0 scoring. Thespa have only lost twice in their last 10 matches, and that were against the top teams Sanfrecce and Cerezo. Roasso had some chances themselves too, and focused mainly on long balls whic the 2 strikers were left chasing. It almost worked, but the Thespa defence managed to stop most of it. Yamazaki doubled Thespa’s lead in the 70th minute, with a hard and well-placed middle-shot. That pretty much secured the win for Thespa, who on a rainy and very wet day clocked their 5th win of the season. Thespa had 12 shots to Roasso’s 10.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

R17- Cerezo overcomes Ehime

Cerezo Osaka - Ehime FC 2-0
C: Furuhashi 10', Careca 74'

GK: Aizawa
DF: Yanagisawa,Ezoe,Maeda,Niwa
MF: Ale,Haneda,Germano,Hamada
FW: Furuhashi, Komatsu

Careca --> Komatsu 63'
Sakemoto --> Ale 63'
Cards: Ale / 4 yellow for Ehime
Shots: Cerezo 16 / Ehime 11
Attendance: 5758

Cerezo took their 7th win in a row as they beat Ehime 2-0 at home, which means they now have a 5-point gap to the 3rd placed team on the table. Cerezo didn't play a particular good match though, but did just enough to win, and that's often something that characterize a good team, winning on even bad days. For Cerezo, left-back Omata got injured in the warm-up, which meant Niwa stepped in for him. Niwa and Hamada, who controlled the left-side, struggled on several occasions defensively, and it was obvious they hadn't played much together before.

Tatsuya Furuhashi gave Cerezo an early lead after only 10 minutes after his partner Komatsu played him free. Furuhashi seems fully recovered from his injury now, and scored his 4th goal of the season. The rest of the half were quite slow, and not much happened. There were alot of poor passing from both teams, which on occasions created chances for the other team.

In the 2nd half, Cerezo did a couple of substitutes early on, and in came Careca and Sakemoto.Both players can be happy with their performance, and Careca even topped it with a goal. Furuhashi had brilliantly been played free by Haneda, but his shot were parried away only for Careca to tap in the rebound in the 74th minute. Ehime weren't all lost themselves though, and hit the post through substitute Yokotani. All in all a good result for Cerezo, who didn't impress, but still took an impressive 7th win in a row. Cerezo had 16 shots to Ehime's 11.